What if a flick of a switch could help prevent a tragedy? According to a SIDS prevention study published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, it just might.
In what may be the biggest breakthrough in SIDS prevention since the AAP’s life-saving "Back to Sleep" campaign, researchers have found that turning on a ceiling fan in your baby’s room can reduce their risk of SIDS by a whopping 72%. The study also proves the significance of proper air circulation, lending support to the long-held belief that poor air quality may be the root cause of this mysterious condition.
Why It Works:
Ceiling fans both cool and circulate the air. They not only protect your baby from overheating (a known risk factor associated with SIDS), but also improve air quality by whisking away potentially dangerous pockets of carbon dioxide that might otherwise restrict baby’s oxygen intake.
Experts have long suspected that slow suffocation caused by the re-breathing of recently exhaled air could be to blame for the unexplained deaths of otherwise healthy infants. This oxygen-poor air can become trapped under loose bedding and may pool around the nose and mouth, especially if baby's face is obstructed. Proper air circulation reduces this risk, and according to researchers, may even offset risks associated with known SIDS factors such as overly soft bedding, tummy sleeping, and bed sharing.
What If It's Cold Out?
Even if you live in a cold climate, a ceiling fan is still a must. Heated rooms tend to get overly warm and stuffy, making the need for better circulation more urgent. (Researchers saw a pronounced reduction in risk when fans were introduced into heated environments.) If you’re concerned about the temperature, try reversing the direction of the fan. This will ensure that air circulates up and toward the ceiling instead of blowing down on your child. Never cover your child with a blanket. If you think your little one needs an extra layer, invest in a wearable blanket or swaddling wrap.
Wondering what else you can do to keep your little one safe? Learn how to reduce the risk of SIDS in your nursery with these simple tips.