Study suggests that swaddling a baby may lead to SIDS. BUT don’t start tossing out all your swaddles just yet.

The study certainly doesn’t say that swaddling as a practice is dangerous, it’s more how the baby is put down to sleep while swaddled that’s the issue.

The study, published in Pediatrics in May 2016, analyzed the data from four separate SIDS studies conducted in the ’80s and ’90s, and concludes that babies who were swaddled and put to sleep on their sides or their stomachs were twice as likely to die of SIDS.

Babies swaddled and placed to sleep on their backs (SIDS recommendation) had a relatively low risk of SIDS.

Swaddling does become more of a SIDS risk once the baby is old enough to roll over from their back to their tummy, which is generally between four to six months.

According to lead study author Anne Pease, “On a practical level, what parents should take away from this is that if they choose to swaddle their babies for sleep, always place them on their back, and think about when to stop swaddling for sleep as their babies get older and more able to move. We already know that side and prone sleeping are unsafe for young babies, so the advice to place children on their backs for sleep is even more important when parents choose to swaddle them.”

Although death rates from SIDS have dropped dramatically, around 50 babies still die in Australia every year.

If you’re ever unsure if your baby can roll to their side or stomach from their back, exercise caution and ditch the swaddle altogether.

Is it safe to wrap/swaddle my baby? via SIDS

Wrapping can be a useful method to assist baby to settle and stay asleep as it reduces crying time and episodes of waking. Wrapping has also been shown to provide stability, which may help to keep babies in the recommended back position.

When wrapping a baby

Ensure that baby is positioned on the back with the feet at the bottom of the cot, that he/she is wrapped from below the neck to avoid covering his/her face and always sleep baby with face uncovered (no doonas, pillows, cot bumpers, lambswool or soft toys in the sleeping environment).

Use only lightweight wraps such as cotton or muslin (bunny rugs and blankets are not safe alternatives as they may cause overheating).

For wrapping to be effective, the wrap needs to be firm but not too tight. Techniques that use tight wrapping with legs straight and together increase the risk of abnormal hip development, while loose wraps are also hazardous as they can cover baby’s head and face.

Ensure that baby is not over dressed under the wrap. Use only nappy and singlet in warmer weather and dress baby in a lightweight grow suit in cooler weather.

Consider baby’s stage of development. Leave arms free once the startle reflex disappears around 3 months.

When not to wrap baby

If you wrap your baby, consider baby’s stage of development. Leave arms free once the startle reflex disappears around 3 months. Most babies eventually resist being wrapped. Wrapping style should be appropriate for the baby’s developmental stage.

It is essential to discontinue wrapping as soon as baby starts showing signs that they can begin to roll, usually between 4-6 months of age but sometimes younger. . Babies must not be wrapped if sharing a sleep surface with another person. Baby should not be wrapped while sleeping in a baby sleeping bag.

SIDS share the benefits of using a safe baby sleeping bag

Research has shown that among the benefits of using a safe baby sleeping bag (a safe baby sleeping bag has fitted neck and armholes and no hood and is the correct size for baby) are:

  • they reduce the risk of bedclothes covering baby’s face
  • they delay baby rolling onto the tummy during sleep until baby’s past the age of peak risk of SUDI
  • they promote back sleeping as the zipper opens to the front
  • they will keep baby’s temperature at a more constant level while sleeping

SIDS recommendations to sleep baby safely

  • Sleep baby on the back from birth, not on the tummy or side
  • Sleep baby with head and face uncovered
  • Keep baby smoke free before birth and after
  • Provide a Safe Sleeping Environment night and day (Safe cot, Safe mattress, Safe bedding)
  • Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult caregiver for the first six to twelve months
  • Breastfeed baby

Sleeping bags weren’t as popular when my boys were born. My first born hated being wrapped so it was never an option. My second bubba seemed to quite like it though so I kept him wrapped for around 8 months.

My go to gift for new mums today is generally a Love to Dream swaddle. Little ones look soooo comfy all tucked up.

Another great option is this gorgeous range from Lolli Living.

The nap mat is a perfect idea for little ones at daycare.

Designed in conjunction with leading childcare centres the Deluxe Napmats are not only super practical but look great too!

Sized to perfectly fit daycare stacking beds, each napmat has 4 elastic loops to secure the mat to the bed to ensure it says in place even through tosses and turns.

Share your comments below.

Read more: Concerns over parents ignoring SIDS guidelines

Image via Getty

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  • always follow the guidelines to help prevent this and to give your baby the best chance


  • None of ours settled well swaddled. They liked their arms loose or would whinge and struggle until they exhausted themselves and fell asleep, sometimes over 1/2 hour. With their arms loose they were usually sound asleep within 5 minutes.


  • My daughter wouldn’t sleep unless she was on her tummy, so we made sure she had pillow that would allow her to breathe. She survived with a small scare but it wasn’t due to her sleeping on her tummy.


  • We swaddled very successfully but moved to sleeping bags as soon as he started rolling.


  • I never swaddled my babies. My youngest 3,5 still sleeps in a sleepingbag as doesn’t like to be covered with blankets, even in the winter.


  • My grandson sleeps in a sleeping bag, not cot blankets or doonas. He is quite restless of a night time so this was decided as the best option to keep him warm and covered thru the night


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