New study suggests swaddling increases risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

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A new study connecting swaddling and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has parents on high-alert.

The headlines may scare new moms and dads but what does this study actually mean?

WSBT 22's Alex Elich talked to some local experts to find out more.

Snugly wrapping an infant in a garment for warmth and security is something most parents do to comfort their new born.

When recent headlines say "SIDS" and "swaddling" in the same sentence a red light goes off in a lot of parents mind.

Sara Blucker's baby, Zoey, is only five weeks old.

"I was really appalled. I mean just to think that swaddling has been around forever," she said.

The meta-analysis shows there was an increase in risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome when infants were put on their stomachs and sides and swaddling infants past a few months could have big risks.

"It does indicate not just that that's the safest way, even if you sleep a baby on their back, there may be some significant increased risks if a baby is swaddled beyond a few months of age," said Dr. Tom Soisson.

Pediatricians at the South Bend Clinic say you can read the meta-analysis and come to your own conclusions but you should consider not swaddling your infant after a couple months of age.

"Certainly anything that is not in the first month is not considered a danger, although the study did not address that specifically, and there's not firm conclusions in that, there was a slight increase at virtually any age, but they didn't tease it out to be able to say for sure," Dr. Soisson said.

Sara isn't willing to take the risk.

"I put her in a little sleeper gown and then I lay her down. I mean they taught me how to swaddle really well when I was at the hospital, and I'm like well I'm not going to use it anymore. I mean her life is more important to me so other alternatives I think," she said.

"That's the real key take home message from this is not so much swaddling by itself, but the increased risk in babies who are swaddled and either put to sleep on their side or in the prone position in other words on their stomach," said Dr. Soisson.

Other ways to reduce SIDS include using a firm sleep surface and keeping soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib.

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