Wrapping a baby tightly in a blanket or some kind of cloth, with the arms and legs snug and the head exposed is known as swaddling.
A new study has found that swaddling affects an infant’s risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
“Researchers analyzed data from four studies that involved 2,519 infants, including 760 whose deaths were attributed to SIDS. Overall, 323 infants had been swaddled, including 133 who died of SIDS,” the Washington Post reports.
Swaddling is taught to most new mothers while they are still in the hospital. The technique is meant to imitate how the baby feels in the womb, warm and secure.
However, problems like overheating and trouble breathing for infants who roll onto their side or stomach can occur.
The study found that swaddled babies placed on their stomach or sides were twice as likely to die from SIDS than babies who weren’t swaddled and in the same position.
Babies who are more than 6 months old have an even higher risk for SIDS after being swaddled because they have an increased probability of rolling onto their stomach on their own.
SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Most SIDS deaths occur when in babies between 1 month and 4 months of age, and the majority, 90 percent, of SIDS deaths occur before a baby reaches 6 months of age. However SIDS deaths can occur anytime during a baby's first year reported the public education campaign Safe to Sleep.
The current advice provided by the study is to avoid placing your baby on its side when sleeping, especially if he/she is swaddled.