Being a parent of an infant is pretty terrifying. All of a sudden, whether you’re a first-time parent or seasoned pro, everything is basically a potential risk. This is especially why SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is so scary, because it results in around 2,000 unexplained deaths every year in the U.S.
But now, there’s a new study published this month in Pediatrics, which analyzed a total of 760 global SIDS cases compared with 1,759 control babies. It confirmed the popular belief that babies should be put to sleep on their backs. However, it also raised a crucial question: Should infants be swaddled?
Apparently, there is a “small but significant risk” associated with infants who are swaddled and then put to sleep on their backs—while 2% of babies died after being swaddled and put to sleep on their stomachs, 7.9% of swaddled babies who died from SIDS were found on their backs. This means some infants died of SIDS even after being put to sleep on their backs. It could also have to do with age, as SIDS risk increases as babies age, which makes sense, because they are gaining mobility.
Of course, what a parent should do is not exactly clear cut: About 1/3 of babies who died of SIDS weren’t actually swaddled to begin with; 30% were found in that position but not placed in it; while under 6% were swaddled and put to sleep on their backs.This also doesn’t take into account that swaddling itself is pretty subjective–because one parent’s grip may be tighter than another–which means there are a lot of factors at work here.
So, what’s that mean for a confused parent? These researchers are now suggesting to phase out swaddling as babies get older. What’s your take?