If you’re worried that your infant might get SIDS, here’s why you need to keep the blankets and pillows away from your baby’s face during sleep.

“A baby can suffocate and die if sleeping with a blanket over the face,” says Dr. Lisa Lewis, MD, a board certified pediatrician in Fort Worth, Texas, and author of “Feed the Baby Hummus, Pediatrician-Backed Secrets from Cultures Around the World.”

Dr. Lewis explains, “SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is actually a term reserved for unexplained deaths.

“A blanket over the face is explainable. If the baby can’t breathe the result is suffocation.

“Preventing SIDS entails removing blankets, pillows and any objects from the crib that can cause suffocation.” This recommendation may seem like a contradiction to the statement before it, but Dr. Lewis adds:

“In other words, if a baby suffocates from a blanket over the face, the cause of death may be labeled SIDS if the medical examiner is not aware the blanket was present.”

In cases that have been labeled SIDS, the cause, indeed, is never determined.

This is why some doctors speculate that in these cases, a congenital arrhythmia played a role in the unexplained death.

A congenital arrhythmia can cause sudden cardiac arrest – which can be fatal if intervention doesn’t come within minutes.

Another theory is that acid reflux from the stomach makes it to the throat, choking the baby to death.

So though removing the blanket or other similar items from the crib won’t prevent SIDS, this will prevent suffocation by blankets or pillows.

Having 20+ years’ experience, Dr. Lewis completed her pediatrics residency at Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Scott and White Memorial Hospital. For two years afterward she was assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at Texas A&M University Health Science Center.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.