Are you wondering when can a baby sleep with a pillow?
Experts often recommend waiting until your little one is at least 18 months of age.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to know what’s right when choosing a bedding for your child. You want a space that looks soft and comfortable for your little one, but you also need to protect them against risks. A pillow might look like a comfortable and inviting product to us adults, but it can be dangerous for infants who don’t have as much control over their bodies.
Here’s what you need to know before you allow your baby to sleep with pillows, blankets, and other common forms of bedding.
Why Wait to Give a Child a Pillow?
The consumer product safety commission says that you should wait until your child is at least one and a half or 18 months old before using a pillow. By the time your babies reach their toddler bed, they might already be sleeping with a pillow. Other children take longer before they feel comfortable enough to sleep with a pillow at night.
However, you should never give a pillow to a baby under the age of 18 months. That’s because Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDs, is often caused by exposure to pillows and bedding. If your child becomes wrapped up in a pillow or blanket, they could suffocate during the night. It is why it’s so important to be careful with pillows.
When your baby sleeps in a crib for up to 18 months, the risk of suffocation is still high. Although the risk drops significantly after your child turns one year old, it’s still important to be cautious about what you place in a baby’s bed.
Some parents are even considered that Sudden Unexplained Death (SUDC) may be linked to a toddler pillow. Some toddlers who don’t develop as quickly as their peers might be overwhelmed by objects in their crib and risk suffocation. If you’re not sure about which age to introduce a pillow, it’s best to speak to a doctor.
Giving Pillows to Babies and Toddlers
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the ideal age to give your child a pillow is two years old. You also need to make sure that your toddler’s pillow is firm and small.
If you will move your child from a crib to a toddler’s bed, make sure to install safety guardrails. Remember, barriers are intended to keep children from falling from their bed and not to restrain them. Some parents prefer for their toddlers to sleep on a mattress on the floor. If you are more comfortable with this setup, you can do this too.
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Consulting your doctor before you give your little one a pillow is helpful. Different toddlers and babies develop at different rates. Just because one baby is ready to move to a toddler’s bed, it doesn’t mean that it is the same with your child.
Testing and observation are often essential to choosing the right age to use a pillow for your child’s bed. However, during the early months of your child’s life, it’s best to avoid any crib bumpers, blankets, and pillows that are deemed potentially dangerous by health information from your doctor or the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Remember, you may give your toddlers pillows during the day for them to use as a headrest. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to allow them to use the same pillows in bed at night.
Safe Sleeping Tips for Babies and Toddlers
Sleep is one of the most complex topics for new parents to address. You can read many sleep guidelines and sleep help books that help you get a good night’s sleep during pregnancy. However, the information available about SIDs and safe sleep for children tends to be more of a cause for concern.
The most important thing to remember as a parent is that just because cot bumpers, pillows, and soft blankets look relaxing to us, it doesn’t mean they’re ideal for your baby. A pillowcase or pillow can quickly become a choking hazard for a baby without enough muscle strength to move. It’s also easy for blankets and pillows to become wrapped around the bottom of a crib.
To keep your child safe, remember to:
Encourage Back Sleeping
— Mayfield Medical (@MedicalMayfield) August 26, 2017
Children should be encouraged to sleep on their backs to reduce any cause for concern. It is valid for both babies and toddlers. As babies, children often won’t be able to roll over from their back to their stomach as quickly during the night, making objects in the crib less worrying.
However, it would help avoid including any object in the crib that doesn’t need to be there. Most babies need a mattress. Toddlers can sometimes use pillows too, but family members and caregivers should continue to place them on their backs to reduce the risk of suffocation.
Get the Bed or Crib Location Right
Besides helping your child sleep on their back, it would help if you also focused on getting the crib or bed location right. Most experts, including the CDC, recommend keeping the crib in the parents’ bedroom until 6 to 12 months.
When you make the transition of transferring your child to their room, make sure that the crib or bottom of the bed is far from any objects with strings or ties, including curtains and cords. You should also remove things from around the mattress if your child could pull them into the crib.
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Choose the Bedding Carefully
One of the most challenging decisions you can face is deciding when to give your baby certain kinds of bedding. You may be enticed to get a sleeping pillow for babies or a baby-safe pillow while shopping. However, most experts say babies and pillows shouldn’t mix until at least they’re 18 months old. Keep all soft objects and suffocation risks away from the bed.
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It means that all of your child’s soft toys should be kept away from the crib or bed when they’re sleeping. That new jersey blanket should be out of the bed too! Keep any blankets and other products away from your child’s face. Moreover, ensure that anyone who cares for your child when you are not around can follow your instructions.
When the time does come to give your child bedding, make sure you choose a pillow without a pillowcase if possible to reduce any hazardous risks.
When Can You Use Pillows and Blankets?
When can a baby sleep with a pillow and a blanket? Figuring this out can be challenging enough in itself, even if you think you have the perfect toddler beddings in mind. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that keeping soft objects and loose bedding out of the sleeping area is essential for the first 12 months.
It means that you shouldn’t use a pillow or a blanket for your baby within the 12-18 months of their life. Remember, when you start using a toddler pillow or blanket for your child, it’s essential to choose your options carefully. Go back to the books you read during pregnancy. Remember, larger blankets are more likely to cover your baby’s head and increase the risk of SIDS. You can also find topics online on safe sleep to help you choose the right kind of blanket.
Keeping your kids on their back when they use a blanket or pillow is crucial too. Encourage back sleeping at all times until your child has enough strength to support themselves and move onto their back or side during the need. It’s best to stop swaddling when your baby gets to the point when they look like they’re about to roll. It is because your baby might need access to their feet and hands to move back onto their back.
With or without a pillow and blanket, it’s best to refrain your kids from falling asleep on a reclined chair, armchair, or another location where they might not have enough support for their head. For your child’s safety, provide them with a service where you can carry them to bed if they fall asleep elsewhere. You can discuss topics like falling asleep inappropriately with your doctor or paediatrician if you’re concerned.
Keeping Your Toddler Safe
Safe sleep for babies #SafeSleepBabies educates parents on keeping your baby safe while they sleep. GA sees an average of three infant deaths per week. Your local health department cares for your baby's safety. Learn more at https://t.co/uJf9XB5HwM #NCHD52 #NCHD #WeProtectLives pic.twitter.com/T3M4GAVBSY
— North Central DPH (@NCHD52) August 14, 2019
Giving your child the right quality of care means knowing how to protect them from all kinds of threats. Offering your child a warm blanket to cover their feet and a pillow to snuggle into might seem like showing you care. However, these products can be dangerous in the wrong circumstances.
There are numerous topics on health, safety, and parenting that cover the dangers of introducing a pillow or blanket to a toddler too early. Remember, speak to your doctor, and pay attention to your toddler when determining when they’re ready for a blanket or pillow. Not every toddler will develop at the same rate.