Getty File Photo  (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)
Photo: China Photos
Photo: China Photos

Swaddling may increase risk of SIDS, study says

A New York Times article published Monday cited a study saying swaddling could increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.

But a pediatrician told WFXT's Heather Hegedus it may be misleading. While a mother we spoke with says it's enough to make her ask her pediatrician if she should re-think swaddling.

Swaddling was a lifesaver for Jessy DeThomas. It was one of the only ways she could get her first baby, Nolan, who is now 3, to sleep.

"The initial headline is kind of jarring because everyone tells you to get your babies to sleep better, you need to wrap them up in a blanket to swaddle them and that helps them get through the night," DeThomas said.

That new study in the journal “Pediatrics”, says overall, swaddling increased the risk for Sudden Infant Death by a third. It also found the risk was greatest for babies who sleep on their stomachs, less for babies who sleep on their sides and smallest for infants who sleep on their backs.

Mansfield pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Hyde says it might be an alarming headline for parents, but the information about sleep position is the key and that actually isn't new.

"We have been, for years, telling parents to sleep their babies on their backs and nothing has changed as far as that's concerned," Dr, Hyde said.

Dr. Hyde said there are still significant merits to swaddling and parents just might want to consider asking their pediatrician whether they should stop doing it once a baby's older than two months.

"You want a baby to learn to sleep and that's an important skill for all people to learn and so if the swaddling helps them learn to fall asleep then that's a good thing," said Hyde.

Another takeaway for parents is that blanket swaddles may be safer than Velcro swaddles, which recently hit the market. The pediatrician we talked with says the Velcro ones are harder for a baby to get out of and might slow developmental progress, things like sucking on the thumb or rolling over.

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