See you later, swaddling? After analyzing the data from four previous studies, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that babies who were swaddled were up to 50%-60% more likely to die of SIDS than babies who were not swaddled. The highest percentages of SIDS deaths were reserved for babies who were swaddled and then placed on their bellies (which is a discouraged sleeping position for babies anyway). Swaddled babies who were approaching six months of age also had increased risks of SIDS, likely due to the fact that they are moving more and working on rolling over, which could lead to overheating and dislodging the swaddle from its tucked position into one that potentially obscures breathing. But don’t stash away that sleeping lifesaver right away: the researchers can’t explain the link yet, and some doctors who don’t recommend swaddling for nighttime sleep say that it can be used under observation, such as when your tot is taking a nap near you. It also should be noted that swaddling was defined differently in the four studies, which spanned two decades and several countries. The most recent recommendations for infant sleep still hold: putting baby down on her back in a crib with a fitted sheet and nothing else (sleep sacks and wearable blankets in the appropriate size are OK). That sound you just heard? That was millions of parents crying at the thought of one less bedtime trick up their sleeve.
Lead image via Inhabitots