Using a fan to circulate air lowered the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in a study of nearly 500 babies.
SIDS is the sudden death of an otherwise healthy infant that can't be attributed to any other cause. It may be caused by brain abnormalities that prevent babies from gasping and waking when they don't get enough oxygen.
Researchers interviewed mothers of 185 infants who died from SIDS, and mothers of 312 infants of similar race and age. The mothers answered dozens of questions about their baby's sleeping environment. Researchers found that fan use was associated with a 72 percent lower risk of SIDS.
However, placing babies on their backs to sleep is still the best advice for preventing SIDS. Experts also recommend a firm mattress, removing toys and pillows from cribs, and keeping infants from getting too warm.