The internet is great.
No really, it is.
It gives us access to all the latest information and studies and gives us the ability to make informed choices with little more than a quick search.
Sometimes due to the lightning fast speed of which information becomes available online studies that aren't really thorough, or haven't been studied "enough" get thrown into the spotlight, especially if the topic is one known to generate a lot of clicks for the website.
Which is exactly what is happening with this latest study. SIDS is scary. It's at the top of the list of fears of most new parents, and rightfully so. These websites know this and take advantage of it. They know every parent wants to know how to prevent SIDS and they're going to jump on any opportunity to convert that to a click.
So what does this study actually say?
It says that there is possibly, maybe some type of correlation between infants that are swaddled, then sleep on their sides or backs with SIDS.
What do I need to know?
1. Correlation doesn't equal causation.
This study found a correlation between swaddling and SIDS, it did not find that swaddling causes SIDS. The cause of SIDS is still unknown.
2. We already knew there was a correlation between stomach sleeping and SIDS.
The AAP came out with the recommendation to place infants to sleep on their back in 1992 because of this. Since then cases of SIDS have decreased dramatically.
3. Trust your gut.
Ok, this isn't actually in the study but it should be in every list of parenting advice ever.
4. There was no standard definition of swaddling in these studies.
There are different swaddling techniques and different degrees of swaddling represented in this study making it harder to give a concrete recommendation.
5. Even the division chair of neonatology at Mayo Clinic, Chris Colby isn't saying "STOP SWADDLING THE BABIES!!"
He simply stated that the study may propose a time frame to start to move away from swaddling and suggested that parents evaluate what a good age might be for them.
6. Trust your freaking gut.
Yup, it's at the end of the list too. It's important.
Being a new parent can be scary and it can be hard. Studies like these can be invaluable when making choices, but websites using these headlines to grab readers without fully explaining the implications can be damaging and only serves to make parents afraid.
In the end use your best judgement to decide what's right for your family. We've got your back.