Thursday, May 19, 2016

Does Swaddling Increase SIDS Risk?

I'm not sure why, but our local news station is repeatedly posting articles regarding various parenting choices that lead to an increase risk of SIDS. So far this year, seven babies have died in Sedgwick County, Kansas from co-sleeping (or was it SIDS?) Now, articles are coming out about how swaddling your baby increases the chance of SIDS. There's no doubt that a local non-profit organization is getting itchy for donations, hence the increase in coverage.

Don't get me wrong, seven co-sleeping deaths so far compared to seven deaths in an entire year is newsworthy. But it really isn't helpful to the layperson, especially when the true cause of death isn't mentioned. Did the babies smother under their moms? (Or another parent or child in the bed?) Were the babies entrapped somehow, or fall from their parents' bed? Or... were the parents following all "safe" co-sleeping practices and would this have been a "SIDS" death if they were sleeping in their own cribs?

We don't know.

The articles on swaddling followed, perhaps because the co-sleeping articles lost steam. The AAP statement referenced is a few years old, so they haven't reported anything new. The gist of it is, don't swaddle your baby once s/he might start rolling over. Duh.

But I want to point out something mentioned in this article on co-sleeping.

“There is no such thing as safe co-bedding, because the other human in that bed is unsafe, because the other pillows are unsafe, because the mattress itself is unsafe,” [Christy] Schunn said. “So you can have less risk factors, but there are still risk factors."

Did you catch that?

...because the mattress itself is unsafe...

Here's the thing. Wrap your mattress with a BabeSafe cover and it won't matter if your swaddled baby rolls over. Put your baby in a wrapped co-sleeper and all risk (from roll over/entrapments AND from the toxic mattress gases) is removed.

My heart goes out to those parents who have lost babies this year and every year. But we are doing them a disservice if we aren't looking at all facts scientifically and reporting THOSE to the public. We need to stop blaming parents for every little thing they might possibly do, and start educating them on wrapping their mattresses.