Why Do Fans Prevent SIDS?

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Updated August 16, 2022

Like sleep position and soft bedding, ventilation during sleep is a critical factor for a healthy baby. According to some child care providers, adding a top-tier fan to your infant’s room might prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Keep reading to learn why do fans prevent SIDS and limit the risk factors in your child’s sleep environment.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • A study from the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that fans reduced the SIDS rate by 78%.
  • The scientists theorized that fans prevent carbon dioxide from collecting around the sleeping baby.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns that the 2008 study didn’t have enough sample size for definitive results.

If you need a few ideas for your nursery, read our Vornadobaby Breesi LS nursery fan review for an idea of the greatest fans for baby rooms. Just keep in mind that, like all electronics, you’ll need to do some troubleshooting eventually, such as when a hot breeze leaves you asking, “Why is my fan blowing hot air?” You’ll also need to consider why you feel sick after sleeping with a fan, especially at cooler room temperatures, before you put one in your child’s room.

Insider Tip

Only run your infant’s nursery fan on low speeds during winter to prevent drying out the air.

How Do Fans Prevent SIDS?

Health care providers are divided on exactly how fans fight against unexpected infant death, but studies suggest that fans can mitigate crib death risks. A 2008 study from the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that running a nursery fan reduced the sudden infant death rate by 72%.

The scientists found that combining a warm room with a fan yielded the best results. They theorized that the increased airflow stops the accumulation of carbon dioxide around a newborn’s crib. In addition to a fan, the infants slept in a room with an open window.

Warning

An adverse sleep environment like loose bedding and warmer room temperatures can contribute to sudden death risk in infants.

Do Fans Actually Help SIDS?

Unfortunately, a definitive answer isn’t available. Despite the study noted above, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that there is insufficient evidence to suggest that fans help mitigate SIDS risk. They caution new parents against relying exclusively on fans to prevent infant deaths, claiming that the 2008 study has too small of sample size and has possible result-altering biases.

STAT: A 2020 US EIA (Energy Information Agency) survey showed that 28% of American renters have a ceiling fan. (source)

Why Do Fans Prevent SIDS FAQs

How often should I clean my fan?

Clean your fan once a week to prevent the spread of allergy-causing dust, dirt, and pollen particles. If you have a ceiling fan, you can use a dusting wand or microfiber cloth to remove built-up dust from the blades and motor assembly. Users with portable or tower fans can vacuum the vents and clean the reusable cover with soap and water.

How fast should a nursery fan go?

Your infant's nap time fan should provide white noise and enough airflow to help your baby sleep. Additionally, high-speed fans can cause false alarms from your baby monitor. Your fan should have enough CFM for the square footage of your nursery to ensure efficient airflow.

Do fans cool the air?

Fans do not actively cool the air like an air conditioner, but the increased circulation can contribute to comfortable temperatures. You can use a series of fans for cycling stale air from your home and intaking fresh, cool air.
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