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A new study has found that using a fan on a sleeping baby lowers the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by 72 percent.
These findings were published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and suggests that a baby’s sleeping environment is a major factor in the risk of SIDS.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a syndrome marked by the symptoms of sudden and unexplained death of an apparently healthy infant aged one month to one year.
The study compared 185 babies that had died from SIDS with 312 randomly selected babies and matched them according to similarities in race and age. The study did not go into detail about why fans make a difference, but scientists suggest that air circulation is a key factor. Fans are able to lower the risk of “rebreathing” exhaled carbon dioxide. They say that the SIDS rate is higher in babies that sleep on their stomach, in a soft bed, or without a pacifier.
“Even though we don’t know why certain babies are more susceptible, sleeping environment matters,” said a co-author of the study, Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente’s division of research in Oakland, Calif.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents avoid soft bedding, allow babies to use a pacifier and avoid overheating a baby’s room. If a parent is worried about giving the baby a chill, doctors note that fans do not cool the air, they just move it around.
Sources: Archpediatrics, AP