What the Study Says
First, it’s important to better understand the study’s findings. Researchers found that swaddling was associated with an increased risk for SIDS, but the risk was highest among infants sleeping on their stomachs and sides and lowest among those sleeping on their backs, according to the study in the journal Pediatrics. This further supports the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation to always place babies to sleep on their backs, whether they’re swaddled or not. Placing babies on their sides is too risky because they can roll onto their tummies.
The other crucial thing to consider is your baby’s age. The Pediatrics study found that the risk for SIDS among swaddled infants increased as they got older. That’s likely due to the fact that older babies are able to roll from their backs to their stomachs. A good rule of thumb is to stop swaddling as soon as your baby shows that he or she is trying to roll over. Most babies are able to roll from tummy to back by about 4 months old and in both directions by 6 months.
What Else You Can Do
As a new parent, helping your child sleep well is a major priority. Of course, making sure your baby is safe is just as important. These tips can help you and your little one catch some precious zzz’s while putting some of your worries to rest:
- Make sure your baby’s crib meets all current safety standards and has a firm sleep surface.
- Keep all soft or loose items out of your baby’s crib, including blankets, bumpers, toys, pillows, stuffed animals, sheets, and more.
- Offer your baby a pacifier at naps and bedtime.
- Make your home a smoke-free environment.
- Don’t sleep with your baby in your bed.
- Have your baby sleep in a crib or bassinet near your bed.
- Prevent overheating—check that the room where your baby sleeps is a comfortable temperature.
If you have any questions about your child’s safety, discuss them with your pediatrician.