Research suggests that swaddling your baby could increase their risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (SIDS)

The new research published by the American Academy of Paediatrics suggests that swaddling a baby may heighten the risk of cot death.

The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne provides information about how to ensure your baby is safe while sleeping, and they discourage the wrapping technique.

“Swaddling is no longer appropriate due to entrapment risk,” their website writes.

The new study contains data sourced from four observational studies about SIDS and swaddling. The research involves 760 cases of SIDS.

Researchers found that overall, swaddling increased the risk of SIDS by approximately one-third. The results show that the risk varies depending on the position the baby is sleeping in. A baby is at highest risk when sleeping on their stomach, followed by sleeping on their side. The least risk is associated with a baby sleeping on its back.

The study warns “to avoid front or side positions for sleep especially applies to infants who are swaddled.” It has little results to prove that risk increases depending on the infant’s age.

Australia’s SIDS and KIDS CEO Associate Professor Leanne Raven tells SBS that the meta-analysis is great and that the overall findings are supportive of her organisation’s message, which is to ensure babies sleep on their back from birth.

“At the moment, we’re not feeling that it’s going to impact on the advice that we give in wrapping babies, but it reinforces the need for parents to put babies to sleep on their back,” she tells SBS.

“It does give us an opportunity to reinforce the principles of safe wrapping.”

Associate Professor Raven says that the organisation advises at five months of age you don’t wrap your baby because that’s when something in the cot could cause a risk.

“Overall, the findings are in alignment with our message,” she says of the Pediatrics study. “Most important is putting your baby on their back from birth. The findings reinforce that, whether the baby is wrapped or not.”

SIDS recommends How to Sleep your Baby Safely:

1. Sleep baby on the back from birth, not on the tummy or side

2. Sleep baby with head and face uncovered

3. Keep baby smoke free before birth and after

4. Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day

5. Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult caregiver for the first six to twelve months

6. Breastfeed baby

Share your comments below.

Image via SIDS

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  • The rules are constantly changing.
    With my eldest we were told to up them on their sides and to alternate each time we put them down.
    With my Middle child we were told the same thing but to also put them on their tummies. She hated being on her tummy so i didnt do it. We were told that we should not put them on their backs as if they were sick while sleeping they wouldnt be able to breathe,
    With my youngest we were told to put them on their backs. LOL

    We were told to swaddle all three of them but they all hated it so i never bothered.


  • Both my kids never really seemed to like it so I stopped doing it. I don’t think I’ll even try for my next baby


  • If the rules are changing, it should be highlight in the news


  • I feel for parents who have lost a child to SIDS and then read this stuff. My mum did all the ‘right’ things and my sister passed away from SIDS. Then a couple years later they changed some of the things they think cause it, giving my mum a multitude of reasons to blame herself.


  • I never swaddled my daughter. If there are so many risks involved, better indeed to advise parents not to do it.


  • I was shown how to swaddle but never did. It didn’t feel like the right thing to do.


  • One thing that is a thing of the past is common sense!


  • Swaddling or wrapping a baby too tightly can cause hip dysplacia.
    Maybe swaddlers wrapped too tightly and put pressure on baby’s chest and lungs too.


  • Never know what to do as information is always changing and conflicting. I use love to dream swaddles – I feel they are safer than swaddling in a blanket as they can’t accidentally unwrap or pull blanket over their face

    • I also use the Love to Dream swaddle. It just seemed better than wrapping as I also worried the wrap would end up in bub’s face.


  • Wow, they keep changing their minds! When my son was born, it was put them on their tummy to sleep. 3 years later, my daughter arrived and it was put them to sleep on their side. Now it’s on their back right at the bottom of their bassinet/cot :/


  • I am so confused….. the rules are always changing


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