AAP addresses swaddling controversy

To swaddle or not to swaddle. The traditional parenting practice used to provide warmth and comfort to newborns is currently under scrutiny because of the potential health risks it presents. In a recent article, the American Academy of Pediatrics addressed opposing sides of the swaddling controversy.

Negative effects occur when swaddling is done incorrectly. Wrapping an infant too tightly in the wrong position can cause hip dysplasia and in extreme cases, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The increased risk of SIDS led the the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education to advise against swaddling in 2011, prompting a number of child care centers in the United States to ban the practice.

Conversely, an article published in the Journal of Pediatrics with research funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant found, “there is insufficient evidence that infants swaddled while supine are at any increased risk for SIDS.”

The AAP itself has no official stance on the practice of swaddling because of the conflict between the data of the benefits and the risks, but they do agree when swaddling is done correctly it helps calm infants, promoting sleep.

For more information about swaddling and for tips to properly swaddle your baby, use this guide by Contemporary Pediatrics.