Swaddling may increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome when babies are put on their stomach or side to sleep.
A review of four studies found the risk connected with side sleeping nearly doubled among swaddled infants, and doubled in swaddled babies found on their stomachs. The SIDS risk was also higher for older babies who were swaddled during sleep.
The study, published in the May 2016 Pediatrics, includes data from 760 SIDS cases and 1,759 controls, or healthy babies.
Anna S. Pease, the study's lead author, told the New York Times the results aren't foolproof, because there are limited studies on the topic. But still, parents should be aware of the risks.
“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," Pease told the Times.
The debate over swaddling children isn't a new one, and there are parents on both sides of the issue. Some states, like Minnesota, have even enacted statutes to prevent swaddling in licensed programs.