Chapter 3: Health Promotion and Protection
3.1 Health Promotion in Child Care
3.1.4 Safe Sleep
In child care settings, swaddling is not necessary or recommended.
RATIONALEThere is evidence that swaddling can increase the risk of serious health outcomes, especially in certain situations. The risk of sudden infant death is increased if an infant is swaddled and placed on his/her stomach to sleep (1,2) or if the infant can roll over from back to stomach. Loose blankets around the head can be a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (3). With swaddling, there is an increased risk of developmental dysplasia of the hip, a hip condition that can result in long-term disability (4,5). Hip dysplasia is felt to be more common with swaddling because infants’ legs can be forcibly extended. With excessive swaddling, infants may overheat (i.e., hyperthermia) (6).
COMMENTSMost infants in child care centers are at least six-weeks-old. Even with newborns, research does not provide conclusive data about whether swaddling should or should not be used. Benefits of swaddling may include decreased crying, increased sleep periods, and improved temperature control. However, temperature can be maintained with appropriate infant clothing and/or an infant sleeping bag. Although swaddling may decrease crying, there are other, more serious health concerns to consider, including SIDS and hip disease. If swaddling is used, it should be used less and less over the course of the first few weeks and months of an infant’s life.
TYPE OF FACILITYCenter, Early Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS220.127.116.11 Safe Sleep Practices and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)/SIDS Risk Reduction
Pease AS, Fleming PJ, Hauck FR, et al. 2016. Swaddling and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome: A Meta-analysis. Pediatrics;137(6):e20153275.
Richardson, H. L., A. M. Walker, R. S. Horne. 2010. Influence of swaddling experience on spontaneous arousal patterns and autonomic control in sleeping infants. J Pediatrics 157:85-91.
Contemporary Pediatrics. 2004. Guide for parents: Swaddling 101. http://www.aap.org/sections/scan/practicingsafety/Toolkit_Resources/Module1/swadling.pdf.
Van Sleuwen, B. E., A. C. Engelberts, M. M. Boere-Boonekamp, W. Kuis, T. W. J. Schulpen, M. P. L’Hoir. 2007. Swaddling: A systematic review. Pediatrics 120:e1097-e1106.
Mahan, S. T., Kasser J. R. 2008. Does swaddling influence developmental dysplasia of the Hip? Pediatrics 121:177-78.
Franco, P., N. Seret, J. N. Van Hees, S. Scaillet, J. Groswasser, A. Kahn. 2005. Influence of swaddling on sleep and arousal characteristics of healthy infants. Pediatrics 115:1307-11.