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Swaddling infants could be more likely to cause SIDS, study shows

Posted May 12

Babies who are swaddled could be more likely to suffer sudden infant death syndrome, according to a study published in Pediatrics. (Deseret Photo)

Babies who are swaddled could be more likely to suffer sudden infant death syndrome, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

According to the New York Times, researchers looked at four observational studies of SIDS and swaddling. The studies consisted of 760 SIDS cases and more than 1,700 controls.

“Over all, swaddling increased the risk for SIDS by about one-third,” the New York Times reported. “The risk was greatest in babies sleeping on their stomachs, less in those sleeping on their sides, and least in infants sleeping on their backs.”

According to the study, it was more common to swaddle younger babies, “and the risk of SIDS linked to swaddling seemed to increase in older infants.” Study authors said that could be related to a higher chance of older infants rolling to their stomachs.

The Netherlands has low rates of SIDS, and Netherlanders say to swaddle a baby to diminish a lot of crying, the study said.

“Because of the likelihood of rolling to the prone position, the official advice in the Dutch guideline on excessive crying is never to initiate swaddling after the fourth month, to stop swaddling as soon as the child signals he or she is trying to turn over, and always to stop swaddling before the sixth month (after this age, infants will be able to roll over),” the study said.

According to the study authors, there are multiple limitations to the meta-analysis, such as the fact that none of the studies described the swaddling technique good enough, and the questions in the studies interchangeably used “wrapping” and “swaddling” at times, “when they might indicate different infant care practices.”

“Despite the limitations, these analyses indicate that the current advice to avoid placing infants on their front or side to sleep may especially apply to infants who are swaddled,” the study authors wrote.

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  • Tron Carter May 13, 2016
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    If you swaddle them as shown in the picture I'm sure the risk for SIDS skyrockets. What a horrible illustration with the swaddle up around the mouth like that.