Inadequate room ventilation can be a contributory factor in SIDS cases and the movement of air has the potential to reduce the risks.
Researchers surveyed the mothers of 182 infants who had died from SIDS and 312 randomly selected control subjects. The use of a fan led to a 72% decrease in SIDS risk and a 94% reduction in rooms with temperatures above 21C.
The study also discovered that despite the effectiveness of placing babies on their backs, around 25% of caregivers do not do this.
Authors of the study advocate greater education about the supine sleep position, alongside increasing the frequency of fan use.
They wrote: ‘Although improving the methods used to convey the importance of the supine sleep position remains paramount, use of a fan in the room of a sleeping infant may be an easily available means of further reducing SIDS risk.’
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (2008) 162:963-968