SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, is the super scary, unexplained death of a child less than one year of age. And while certain practices have long been linked to increasing the risk of SIDS, a NEW study suggests that swaddling may now need to be added to that list!
This is so awful! SIDS can now be linked to swaddling a baby, according to a new study! Swaddling, which consists of wrapping an infant in a light blanket with only the head exposed, has been around for ages as it’s known to help children sleep better. BUT while the practice is extremely common, recent research suggests that it might actually be deadly! HollywoodLife.com spoke EXCLUSIVELY to a pediatrician about SIDS and got the scoop on what can be done to avoid the horrible syndrome — including if swaddling is officially a major no-no!
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Swaddled babies placed on their side or stomach are reportedly TWICE as likely to die from SIDS than non-swaddled babies in the same position, according to the new report, published in the journal Pediatrics. How awful! And while the technique has become immensely popular as a way to keep an infant warm and comfortable, this recent news comes as a HUGE shock — and concern — for parents!
HollywoodLife.com spoke to Dr. Jennifer Shu, an Atlanta pediatrician and co-author of Heading Home with Your Newborn, about SIDS and how swaddling is related to the horrific syndrome. Check out our five fast facts below:
1. Swaddling actually serves a legitimate purpose.
“Swaddling can be a really good tool to help [babies] sleep — people have been doing it for years,” Jennifer explained. “It helps keep the baby’s arms and legs contained. See, babies have a startle reflex when they’re first born where their arms and legs can move outward really fast, which can wake them up while they’re sleeping. Swaddling keeps them enclosed — like they were used to before being born.” Not to mention, swaddling also ensures that the baby is kept warm!
2. Swaddling can in fact increase an infant’s risk for SIDS.
Although swaddling has a definite purpose, and is linked to sound sleep, it CAN also be dangerous, leading to many issues including SIDS. The technique becomes a problem if the blanket gets loose, is too tight, or even if the baby rolls over. “The blanket can become loose and then the baby can become tangled or have breathing problems,” Jennifer revealed. “If the baby rolls over, it can get stuck — especially if they’re facedown.” Babies can also get overheated, and, if the blanket is too tight, it can cause hip problems in the infant — even leading to dislocation!
3. Swaddling is not the only thing that can raise a child’s risk for SIDS.
“We know that cigarette smoke can increase the risk of SIDS, so can bed-sharing with an adult or older child — especially if the adult has been under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” Jennifer divulged. But according to the award-winning author, a sleeping baby on their stomach or side is the biggest problem. “Having your child sleep on their back is the most important thing [for avoiding SIDS],” she said. Also make sure to keep your baby’s crib bare — avoid any loose or fluffy pillows or blankets. “Also, no bumper pads,” Jennifer added. “If the baby’s face gets pushed up against the bumpers, it can interfere with breathing and the baby can get trapped.”
4. SIDS can occur anytime within baby’s first year.
SIDS most commonly occurs in children 2-4 months old. However, it can happen at any time within one year.
5. SIDS is scary, but there ARE things parents can do to help decrease their child’s risk.
“I think if parents are concerned about [SIDS], they should make sure to watch their babies while they’re sleeping swaddled,” Jennifer explained. “Practice swaddling them during the day or only swaddle them to get them calm, then remove the swaddle while they’re asleep.” Jennifer also suggested that once a child starts to move on its own, at about 2-4 months, swaddling should stop all together. “Some parents only swaddle form the armpits down, that way at least the baby’s arms are free and they can move their bodies easier,” Jennifer said.
What do you think of this new study, HollywoodLifers? Do you think swaddling is officially a dangerous practice?