A Simple Fan May Prevent SIDS

by Mona Saint MD

A new study shows that babies who sleep with a fan in their room have a 72% lower chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The reduction in risk was much lower (16%) if you looked at infants who were already sleeping on their backs. It is not clear exactly why fans help but one theory is that fans help prevent rebreathing of carbon dioxide gas that might be present in the infants airway. SIDS is the leading cause of death in the first year of life and it is still not understood why exactly it occurs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep on their backs, avoid soft bedding, allow babies to use a pacifier if they want, and avoid overheating a baby’s room. The back sleeping campaign has been successful in reducing SIDS rates; however a simple fan may still be worth considering.

Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. 2008;162(10):963-968.