A new study suggests that swaddling may lead to the thing all parents of newborns fear the most: SIDS.
Now before everyone starts tossing out all their swaddles, the study doesn't say that swaddling as a practice is dangerous, it's more how the baby is put down to sleep while swaddled that's the issue. The study, published in Pediatrics, analyzed the data from four separate SIDS studies conducted in the '80s and '90s, and concludes that babies who were swaddled and put to sleep on their sides or their stomachs were twice as likely to die of SIDS. Babies swaddled and placed to sleep on their backs (the American Academy of Pediatric's recommendation) had a relatively low risk of SIDS.
However, swaddling does become more of a SIDS risk once the baby is old enough to roll over from their back to their tummy, which is generally between four to six months.
According to lead study author Anne Pease, "On a practical level, what parents should take away from this is that if they choose to swaddle their babies for sleep, always place them on their back, and think about when to stop swaddling for sleep as their babies get older and more able to move. We already know that side and prone sleeping are unsafe for young babies, so the advice to place children on their backs for sleep is even more important when parents choose to swaddle them.”
And if you're ever unsure if your baby can roll to their side or stomach from their back, exercise caution and ditch the swaddle altogether.