Baby Swaddling Banned at Day Cares Because It’s Too Dangerous

Say What!? 29

baby burritoSwaddling my baby was one of my favorite ways to soothe my son during his first few months. He loved being tightly snuggled into a blanket. It made him feel secure. And he looked so cute -- who doesn't love a little baby burrito? But these are dark days for swaddling. Apparently day cares all over the country are banning swaddling, and no one is happy about it.

Daycare workers say babies aren't as happy as they used to be, and they're taking much shorter naps now. It's all thanks to new guidelines set by the National Resource Center on Child Health and Safety in 2011. They said swaddling could lead to severe health issues, including hip problems, especially if babies are laid down on their stomachs. "In child care settings, swaddling is not necessary or recommended." So harsh! Are they right?

Child care expert (and swaddling cheerleader) Harvey Karp says the NRC's guidelines are based on just a handful of studies -- and they ignore many other studies that show the benefits of swaddling. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics admits that swaddling can help babies sleep better. But you have to do it correctly.

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Okay... I get that. So then why not just say that swaddling is fine as long as all daycare workers are properly trained? I mean, it's just swaddling. We're not talking nuclear fission here. It doesn't sound that complicated. Here's what the AAP recommends for careful swaddling:

  • Be careful not to wrap the baby too tightly.
  • Make sure the baby's legs aren't straightened or pressed together.
  • Watch the sleeping baby to see if they've kicked their way out of the swaddle. If so, remove the blankets immediately or re-swaddle. Never allow babies to sleep in loose bedding.

There -- is that so complicated? I think parents and day care workers can handle that.

Do you think most day cares can handle swaddling safely?


Image via Gracie and Viv/Flickr

baby sleep, childcare


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nonmember avatar MammaMel

"especially if they are laid down on their stomachs" ummm....Back to Sleep anyone??? I think we have bigger fish to fry if anyone still thinks it's ok to put a newborn to sleep on their stomach without valid medical reason.

nonmember avatar dana

I hate swaddling if it's not in those Velcro swaddle me's. Even then, my son was swaddled for like 6 weeks, he was like a magician. We have pics of him with an arms out. Couldn't hold his head up but could get out of a freakin swaddle. The blankets were too difficult to swaddle. I could never do it. It made me nervous as hell.

nonmember avatar Shannon

Couldn't say, my children have never been to daycare nor will they ever. My best friend worked in several daycares and told me some horror stories.

lalab... lalaboosh

Looks like a problem with idiots, not swaddling....

I'll be swaddling this baby.

mompam mompam

I only swaddled for a week or two. I went back to work at 4 months. People don't swaddled that age do they? I work at a daycare, but we never had an infant young enough to swaddle.

BlueJane BlueJane

My dd is about to turn a year old soon and she still loves being wrapped up to go to sleep. I don't see a problem. We've never wrapped her really tight and she can always get out if necessary. Yeah, she's probably too old to be "swaddled" but if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

nonmember avatar Jocelyn

Yes I think daycares can swaddle safely. We are taught to put them to sleep on their backs anyway. It is safer for us than even parents. We are always in the same room and awake while the babies are sleeping. It's not like at home where mom and dad may be in a separate room, asleep. We are able to clearly see the babies as they sleep.

insei... inseineangel

Why on earth would you swaddle a baby and put them on their stomach? That's just asking for something bad to happen...

I swaddled my daughter until she was about 4 months old. From the beginning she was a freaking Houdini... I'd wrap her up (what I thought was) nice and tight, lay her down, turn away for a moment, look back at her, and BAM!, completely unwrapped in the spread eagle position. And then she wouldn't sleep. Summer Infant SwaddleMe's were absolutely a blessing in those early months. I could wrap her up tight, put her to bed, and she would sleep wonderfully for hours. I was sad when she got too big for them, but now she sleeps great without being wrapped.

peanu... peanutsmommy1

Most child care providers are banned from swaddling because it goes against the AAP safe sleep recommendations of nothing in the crib but the baby. Plus, child care has an insanely high turnover due to the very low pay and long hours, so making sure someone is "properly trained" is virtually impossible when you have new staff every few weeks.

Leslie Loftis

"In child care settings, swaddling is not necessary or recommended." Has anyone at this National Resource Center actually worked with babies? Swaddling edict bad enough, but swaddling and tummies!? Bureaucratic pontification at its finest. 

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