The side or stomach position can increase the possibility of the infant rebreathing his/her own exhaled breath. This is called the rebreathing theory.
This theory suggests that when an infant is lying on their stomach face-down or near-face-down, air may become trapped around the baby’s nose or mouth. This causes the baby to breathe in more carbon dioxide than oxygen. If the baby does not wake up or respond appropriately, it can lead to death. Additionally, this situation becomes even more dangerous when the infant is placed on a soft surface or is sleeping in a smoke-filled environment.
Watch the video below from Professor David Greenblatt for a visual about rebreathing.
The Truth About Sleep Position & Choking
Many parents and grandparents express concern that their baby will choke when sleeping on his or her back, this is simply not true. Babies have a reflex to keep their airway clear and avoid choking. They automatically cough up or swallow any fluid or spit up. Evidence has shown that babies are more likely to choke or aspirate when sleeping on their stomach. Watch the video below to find out why!
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