When Can Your Baby Sleep With a Blanket? 6 Safety Tips
Little Yawn Collective - Oct 10, 2021
When you have a new little baby at home, it can be tempting to wrap them in blankets and to fill their crib with toys, but this can actually be very dangerous for your little one if they are too young. But never fear, we are here to help!
Read on to learn more about when your baby can sleep with a blanket and to discover six safety tips for caring for your bundle of joy.
When Can I Start Using Bedding for My Baby?
If you have an infant, the less bedding you use, the safer it will be.
Your baby’s bedding should only consist of a tight-fitted sheet for their sleeping surface. Make sure that this fitted sheet is not too tight, so that it will not come off around the edges. Fitted sheets with elastic around the edges will help the sheet to stay on the mattress the whole night.
For the baby’s sleeping surface, choose a firm mattress. Firm mattresses are best for babies as they will give better support for the baby’s bones when they are sleeping.
Simply spritz some pillow spray onto your child's sheets or in their room before bedtime, and they will fall in love with the calming scents of organic lavender and cold-pressed bergamot. This sleep mist fosters a restful environment for children, and should be used for babies ages three months and older.
If your little one is slowly starting to move on from their sleep sack, and is ready for a new bedtime treat, surprise them with The Snooze Bundle.
After your baby has done some growing, you can start using lightweight blankets for your baby once they reach 12 months old. However, you must be very careful about the type of blanket you use.
If you think your child is ready to start using a blanket, make sure that the blanket is placed no higher than chest level on your little one, and that it is tucked in around the mattress in the crib.
What Is the Correlation Between Blankets and SIDS?
SIDS stands for sudden infant death syndrome, and is also known as cot death. This terrible issue typically occurs when a healthy baby is sleeping, and an object blocks his or her airways, causing low levels of oxygen, or a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood, to where the child does not wake up from their sleep.
SIDS has no symptoms or warning signs, but can sometimes be prevented. There is a strong correlation between blankets and SIDS, as unfortunately, many babies die from this every year.
Bedding such as thick blankets, large quilts, pillows, and even stuffed animals can block an infant’s airway while they are sleeping, leading to unintentional sleep-related suffocation, or SIDS. This is most common for children within their first year of life, which is why it is so important to keep your infant’s crib free from blankets, extra bedding, and toys.
Once your child is older, you can begin to slowly introduce these items; however, it is critical to research this beforehand and know the best safety practices for keeping your baby safe while they are sleeping.
How Can I Keep My Baby Safe?
When you have a new baby at home, this can be an exciting but sometimes challenging time. Your new little one is completely dependent on you, and it is up to you to keep them feeling happy, healthy, and safe.
One key way to do this is to make sure your baby is safe while sleeping. Having your room at the right temperature is a great place to start.
The ideal temperature for a baby’s room is between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit, so be sure to keep this in mind when selecting your little one’s sleep outfit and bedding.
Now let’s explore several alternatives to blankets that are safe for infants to use, and discover six safety tips to help keep your little one safe while sleeping.
1. Start with Sleep Sacks
Sleep sacks are a great way to introduce your baby to soft, lightweight materials. A sleep sack is basically a wearable blanket that resembles a mini-sleeping bag, with holes for the baby’s head and arms.
A sleep sack is similar to a swaddle for your baby, and is generally used for older babies and toddlers. Sleep sacks provide warmth and comfort, similar to a blanket, but have the ability to stay on your baby all night long.
Sleep sacks come in many different textures and fabrics, so choose one that is soft and cuddly that your baby will fall in love with. There is usually a zipper down the front or side of the sleep sack, or some small buttons on the shoulders, to make the sleep sack baby-proof.
It’s recommended to start your baby with a sleep sack for their naps and nightly sleep and then take baby steps and slowly transition to using blankets once your little one is older and is ready to use a blanket.
2. Avoid Thick or Large Blankets
If your little one is ready to use blankets, make sure to avoid using thick or large blankets. While these blankets may be extra warm and soft, they’re not safe for your little one to have during naptime or bedtime.
Beautiful baby blankets may look harmless, but anything that could potentially cover your child’s nose or mouth could lead to suffocation for your infant. If the bedding is too heavy for your child to move, then this could limit their air access and increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should not sleep with a blanket or any other soft objects in the crib, as these items could potentially trap your baby or block their airways.
Thick blankets can also lead to overheating and could pose a threat to your little one. This is why you should avoid using any thick or large blankets, and instead opt for a light, breathable blanket, if your child is ready for that.
3. Pick Your Fabric Wisely
When choosing a blanket for your child, there are several fabrics that are proven to be lightweight, and are the safest. You must pick your fabric wisely, in order to protect your little one and make sure that the fabric is breathable, and easy enough for your child to move on their own.
Some of the most breathable and lightweight fabrics are:
Some of the fabrics you’ll want to avoid include fur and silk. Fur blankets often have loose fibers that can easily be pulled out and ingested by children, which could pose a huge choking hazard.
Silk fabric is not dangerous per say, but it is, however, very hard to clean and hard to get stains out of, so it is not typically recommended for babies and small children.
4. Avoid Blankets With Ribbons, Strings, or Other Hazards
Once you have chosen the right texture and fabric for a baby blanket, you’ll also want to make sure that your baby’s blankets do not have any ribbons, strings, or other potential hazards. While these blanket details may look pretty and appealing, they can actually be quite dangerous for your baby.
Choking hazards are a serious issue when it comes to children. Blankets with ribbons and strings can potentially wrap around a child’s neck and choke them, so these are not safe to use as bedtime blankets.
Instead opt for simple, lightweight blankets, if your child is old enough to use them while sleeping.
5. Don’t Put Pillows and Toys in the Crib Either
While it may be tempting, make sure that you don’t put pillows and toys in your baby’s crib either. Keeping these items out of your little one’s crib will help to reduce the risk of SIDS and accidental suffocation.
Instead, make a fun playtime area for your baby to use during the day, while under parent supervision. This way, your baby can still play with their toys, but they can do so in a safe environment.
If you want to keep a close eye on your baby while they’re sleeping, you could also consider placing your baby’s crib in your room. However, make sure that you do not sleep with your baby in the same bed, as this could also potentially harm them.
The key is to give your baby their own space, and to keep potential hazards out of their crib.
6. Use Layered Sleeping Outfits
The general rule of thumb for dressing your baby for bedtime is to put them in one additional layer than you would wear at night. This helps to ensure that your baby is at the right sleep temperature, and will not become too warm or too cold overnight.
The safest way to dress your little one for bed is to stay away from blankets, and instead opt for layered sleeping outfits.
If it is a colder month, you can dress your baby in a long-sleeve onesie, or use a sleep sack or swaddle to keep them warm and cozy. You can also try putting your baby in a footed bodysuit with long sleeves without the swaddle or sleep sack if you think it is a bit too warm.
If it is a warmer month, consider a short-sleeved onesie, or a lightweight sleep sack for your baby to sleep in. You can also pair a short-sleeved onesie with an organic cotton swaddle.
For toddlers, try finding a cozy pajama set with a long-sleeve shirt and matching pants for a cozy night’s sleep.
When Can I Transition Away from Sleep Sacks?
Once your baby has reached one years old, the use of sleep sacks can be stopped. Once your little one becomes mobile, they may find the sleep sack space too confining or hot.
Here are some signs to look for to learn if your child is ready to transition away from their sleep sack:
- Your child becomes frustrated with the sleep sack
- The sleep sack is too small for your child
- Your child is too warm
- Your child is mobile enough to not need a sleep sack
Therefore, if your child has reached 12 months old, and you start to notice signs that they may be uncomfortable in their sleep sack, that is a great time to start transitioning your baby away from a sleep sack.
This is the perfect way to help your little buddy fall asleep faster, earlier, and longer.
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Sweet (and Safe) Dreams
All in all, it is so important to help your baby to have a restful and safe night’s sleep. By keeping toys, pillows, and heavy bedding out of your little one’s crib, this will dramatically reduce the risk of SIDS and will prove to be a safer sleeping environment for your baby.
Once your little one reaches the 12 month-old milestone, they should be ready to transition away from the sleep sack, to using a lightweight, breathable baby blanket.
Remember to follow our six safety tips in order to ensure that your little bundle of joy will stay safe all night long. Sweet dreams and stay safe!
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