When Danette Swanson Glassy, M.D., FAAP, meets her newborn patients in the hospital, they often are bundled up in a swaddle.

“As everybody knows, babies are born and cleaned up and then put in a nice, tight swaddle to keep them comfortable and warm,” said Dr. Glassy, chair of the AAP Section on Early Education and Child Care Executive Committee. “They love it. You can see it on their faces. The problem comes when we don’t have a clear idea of when to tell parents to end it.”

Swaddling has become the subject of controversy.

In 2011, the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education recommended against swaddling, saying it could increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Then, Minnesota banned the practice in child care centers, while other states have addressed swaddling in their child care licensing standards. For instance, a...

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