Even us – adults who sleep in well-covered clothes, and on a nice cozy bed still need a blanket. So, it is understandable that you attempt to use blankets as a way to keep your babies warm.
To give you more knowledge on this matter, down here is your guide on “when can babies have blankets in crib”.
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Is sleeping with a blanket safe for babies?
For short, it’s a NO.
Though blankets are harmless to adults without a question, they are the exact opposite to babies. It is reported that every year in America, there are 3,600 baby deaths caused by sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and blankets are in the top list of what can pose the biggest risk.
Babies can be suffocated, entrapped, or strangulated under a blanket, so a safe crib is one that is completely free of a blanket or blanket-like objects like bumpers, pillows, or stuffed toys.
The only thing you should put in the crib is a sheet that is fitted and tugged tightly in the crib on all sides.
Although marketers and manufacturers have claimed to find their way of making blankets safe in the crib in all types of special designs, these products are yet to be proved by AAP. Therefore, better not go for even the smallest risk, right?
When can babies have blankets in crib?
According to AAP, to best reduce the risk of SIDS, only try covering baby with blankets at night when your baby is at least 1 year old. Using loose bedding or soft objects before that point of time will be dangerous.
If you have no choice but to use them, consider sleepers, sleep sacks, or wearable blankets as they are all much safer alternatives.
Once your baby is 12-month old, the threat from SIDS decreases significantly as he is now strong enough to push objects away if they are blocking his airway during sleep.
Also at this stage, you can let your baby use blankets or soft toys, which actually are helpful to support them cope with the anxiety of being on their own at night.
Still, it is highly advised to keep the crib relatively empty and only give pillows to your baby once he is transitioned to a toddler bed.
Guidance on choosing a safety blanket
If your little one is at 12 months old and above, it is statistically safe to use blankets. Here is a detailed guideline on choosing a safety blanket in terms of factors such as size, thickness, or material.
- The larger the blanket, the bigger risk it carries to your baby even if they have turned 1 year old as it can be bundled up and potentially cause strangulation.
- The safety of a blanket also depends on the material it is made of. Muslin blankets like muslin are much safer for your baby compared to thick, quilted ones as they are breathable.
- Weighted blankets, which are used as a therapy to relax the nervous system of sensory concerned children during sleep are not a safe choice for young infants.
- Avoid blankets that have long strings or ribbons, which can choke the baby once he gets tangled in.
How to safely use blankets in cribs?
After checking all of the boxes of safety guidelines above, when putting your baby to sleep, make sure to place the blanket under his chest level then tuck it under the mattress around the crib.
For the case of babies who have more tendency to rock and roll around the crib at night, sleep sacks or footed pajamas can be a much safer choice than a blanket.
Just like blankets, stuffed toys can now be allowed to be put in the crib. It is important, however, to consider how heavy the objects are, whether they are made of breathable materials and the small parts/details they have.
Even 12 months infants can still be choked by large, heavy stuffed animals or by chewing eyes, buttons, or other small details attached to such toys. So if you can’t just leave them outside the crib, make sure to check all of these factors closely.
Make a safe sleeping environment
A blanket is just one of many objects you should take close notice of and among many other factors to ensure baby’s safety. Here are additional steps for parents to create a safe sleeping space for your loved one.
- To avoid either overheating or underheating your baby, dress him in the same amount of layers of clothes as you do to yourself.
- You can add or remove lightweight blankets relatively to ensure that the baby’s back and tummy are warm enough.
- The temperature of the nursery should be as comfortable to you as to your baby, too.
- The risk of SIDS increases substantially when the baby is sleeping on the belly, according to researchers. This risk is even higher if the babies lie on their tummy under heavy bedding or having their head covered by bedding in any position.
- Not only can it protect your baby from an unexpected sudden death, but laying him on his back with the head not covered can also support your baby to manage his own body temperature at night time.
- As we said earlier, make sure the blankets can not reach higher than the baby’s chest and the baby can’t move down and get their head covered under the blanket.
- In case your baby is carried outdoors, hats, beanies, or hoody clothes are not needed.
- If you encounter your baby experiencing heat stress, with signs like floppy, dry skin, irritability or refusing to drink, immediately look for help from health professionals.
- If your baby has cold symptoms, taking all of the above actions, especially placing them on their back and leaving their head uncovered, is enough.
To sum up
Being fully aware of SIDS, understanding clearly the safety guidelines during infants’ sleep, especially when a baby should have a blanket in the crib is clearly what all parents must do. We hope you find this post helpful and do share with us your own experience!