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Fans May Help Reduce Risk of SIDS

Scare SIDS Away With a Fan

Alive and well since 1994, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's (NICHD) "Back to Sleep" campaign has been encouraging parents to put their children to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Additionally, the NICHD and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also advise parents not to share their bed with infants.

While nobody can pinpoint the exact cause of SIDS, Kaiser researchers found:

Infants who slept in rooms ventilated by fans had a 72 percent lower risk of SIDS compared to infants who slept in bedrooms without fans. Using a fan appeared be most effective with infants in high-risk environments, such as those sleeping in overheated rooms or on their stomachs. Researchers hypothesized that fans may improve ventilation and decrease the chance that babies will rebreathe exhaled carbon dioxide (an explanation for SIDS known as the "stale-air hypothesis").

To see what one consultant to the National Institutes on Health has to say about it,


Board member of the American SIDS Institute, Carl Hunt says, "Though the data from the Kaiser study of fans is promising, the link between the use of fans and a decrease in SIDS isn't definitive. . . Reduced breathing of stale air when using a fan … is only speculation at this time. What they've shown is an association, but that doesn't mean that use of the fan causes less risk of SIDS. It may be that families who use fans have a lower risk for SIDS anyway."

I've always had one for white noise, but now I'm thinking it's a positive addition for the baby's well being, too.

Join The Conversation
Greggie Greggie 8 years
Sorry for serial posting. *lol* I forgot to add that our fan is always facing away from the sleepers. And I understand this fan thing isn't an AAP recommendation yet. I'm just thinking aloud as I type.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
Huh, I guess they did add it in 2005. I kind of start to wonder about the AAP and their constant changing on sleep, allergies, etc. I understand research is constant, but they flip flop an awful lot. No peanut butter before age 3, then a sudden change to offer it whenever you want. HUGE change. I tend to look more toward the WHO. The fan thing also makes me wonder, since previously we were told that having a fan on an infant can interfere with their ability to inhale properly.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
Last I saw, the AAP did not recommend against cosleeping, it merely does not endorse it, and strongly advises that it be done safely. No smoking, drinking, medication use, etc. But anyway. We always have a fan on, I need white noise to sleep.
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