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But people have also been worrying about their babies dying in their sleep for millennia. Today, about 3,500 sleep-related infant deaths occur each year, including 1,500 from sudden infant death syndrome. It’s only in recent years that researchers have explored whether the two are connected: Could the age-old practice of swaddling increase the risk of SIDS?

Headlines about a study in the journal Pediatrics would suggest as much, but the research didn’t actually find increased risk when parents follow other safe sleep guidelines.

“This study was really looking at old data and trying to put together really apples and oranges,” says Harvey Karp, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. He says media coverage missed “the forest for the trees and emphasize[d] this scary outcome which the study wasn’t even reporting.”

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Image:┬áBy British School – http://elizabethangeek.com/costumereview/image.mhtml?image_id=21, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3681505

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