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