Swaddling May Increase Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

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Swaddling May Increase Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Swaddling May Increase Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

MONDAY, May 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Swaddling infants before sleep may increase risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) substantially, according to a review published online May 9 in Pediatrics.

Rachel Moon, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, and colleagues analyzed the results of four previously published studies. The studies spanned two decades and included regions of England, Tasmania in Australia, as well as Chicago. In the studies reviewed, 760 babies who died of SIDS were compared with 1,759 who did not.

"Babies who were swaddled were 50 to 60 percent more likely to die of SIDS," Moon told HealthDay. While the overall SIDS risk was increased with swaddling, the risk was even greater when swaddled babies were placed on their stomachs to sleep. Those infants, compared to those not swaddled, had about 13 times the risk of dying from SIDS. The risk also increased as infants approached 6 months of age, Moon said, when they are likely to be able to roll over by themselves.

Moon noted she couldn't explain the link, and the study could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between swaddling and SIDS risk. The analysis also had some limitations, such as the fact that swaddling was defined differently in the four studies.

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