Swaddled baby lying on a bed
Pregnancy & Kids Care Print

Study Finds Swaddling May Increase Risk of SIDS

Could swaddling affect your baby’s risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)? 


The risk of SIDS may increase when infants are swaddled and placed on their sides or stomach to sleep, according to an article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in May 2016. The review included data from four studies spanning two decades and covering regions in England, Australia, and Chicago. 

“Swaddling” is the practice of snugly wrapping infants in a light blanket or cloth with the head exposed to encourage calming and sleep. This practice has grown in the United States over the years because of reports that it promotes better sleep.

The findings

The analysis shows that swaddling increased the risk for SIDS by about 33% overall, more so in babies sleeping on their stomachs and sides and less so in those sleeping on their backs. Swaddled babies placed on their sides or stomachs were twice as likely to have died from SIDS as were babies in those sleep positions who had not been swaddled. The risk of SIDS was less for all babies sleeping on their backs, but it was still greater among swaddled babies.

Moreover, the risks were higher for infants 6 months or older who were swaddled during sleep. The studies suggest that the majority of those infants found on their stomachs rolled into this position after being initially placed on their sides or backs. As babies begin to roll over between the ages of four to six months, parents should consider whether or not to discontinue swaddling.