First Candle is pleased to share with you an interesting new study on the use of fans in an infant’s room to help reduce the risk of SIDS.
Tummy sleeping and soft bedding in a baby’s sleep area can cause a buildup of carbon dioxide (exhaled air) around the baby’s face. Instead of breathing oxygen-rich fresh air, the baby may breathe the exhaled air which may increase the risk of SIDS. Many parents start getting nervous when their baby starts rolling over during sleep. A fan in the room can help disburse the exhaled air so the baby has more access to fresh air.
According to Dr. Fern Hauck, member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on SIDS and First Candle Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, more research is needed. “This is the first study that has looked at this issue,” Hauck said. “Because fan use is in line with theories, it may be worth considering.”
“While we can’t say conclusively that using a fan will reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS, First Candle has suggested the use of fans as a proactive step that parents and caregivers can take for several years,” said Laura Reno, Director of Public Affairs for First Candle. The best protection against SIDS is still to place your baby on his or her back in a safety approved crib on a firm mattress covered with only a sheet. There should be nothing else in the crib.” First Candle also reminds parents and caregivers babies who sleep in adult beds are at an increased risk for SIDS, suffocation and accidents during sleep. Placing your baby in a separate space along side your bed is safer.
If using a table or floor fan, use safety precautions to make sure the fan is not too close to the crib and that it can't tip over or onto the crib causing a finger hazard.
Use of a Fan During Sleep and the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Kimberly Coleman-Phox, MPH; Roxana Odouli, MSPH; De-Kun Li, MD, PhD Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(10):963-968.
Objective: To examine the relation between room ventilationduring sleep and risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Design: Population-based case-control study.
Setting: Eleven California counties.
Participants: Mothers of 185 infants with a confirmed SIDSdiagnosis and 312 randomly selected infants matched on countyof residence, maternal race/ethnicity, and age.
Intervention: Fan use and open window during sleep.
Main Outcome Measure: Risk of SIDS.
Results: Fan use during sleep was associated with a 72%reduction in SIDS risk (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.28; 95%confidence interval [CI], 0.10-0.77). The reduction in SIDSrisk seemed more pronounced in adverse sleep environments. Forexample, fan use in warmer room temperatures was associatedwith a greater reduction in SIDS risk (AOR, 0.06; 95% CI, 0.01-0.52)compared with cooler room temperatures (0.77; 0.22-2.73). Similarly,the reduction associated with fan use was greater in infantsplaced in the prone or side sleep position (AOR, 0.14; 95% CI,0.03-0.55) vs supine (0.84; 0.21-3.39). Fan use was associatedwith a greater reduction in SIDS risk in infants who shareda bed with an individual other than their parents (AOR, 0.15;95% CI, 0.01-1.85) vs with a parent (0.40; 0.03-4.68). Finally,fan use was associated with reduced SIDS risk in infants notusing pacifiers (AOR, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.07-0.69) but not in pacifierusers (1.99; 0.16-24.4). Some differences in the effect of fanuse on SIDS risk did not reach statistical significance.