Crib-related gifts, including as sheet sets, comforters, quilts made by hand, and afghans knitted, are among the most adorable. You may be wanting to use these blankets and other sleep accoutrements in your baby’s crib now that they’ve been sitting there for so long.
The safest course of action is to wait until your child is mature enough to handle the blanket transition before adding one or any other soft covering to him or her, whether at night or during naps. To learn more about the hazards and benefits of using a blanket, as well as when to do so and how to keep your baby warm while you’re deciding, read on.
Is it safe for babies to sleep with blankets?
In a nutshell, no, due to the potential danger that blankets pose in a child’s crib. About 3,600 babies in the United States die unexpectedly while sleeping each year, and the causes are generally related to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), asphyxia, entrapment, or strangling, with blankets increasing the risk of all four.
Because a baby can suffocate under a blanket, the safest place for them to sleep is in a crib devoid of any kind of bedding, including blankets, bumpers, cushions, fleece, or sheepskin. A fitted sheet tucked in all four corners is all your baby needs to sleep soundly at night.
Positioners, wedges, special mattresses, and other surfaces promoted to minimize the incidence of SIDS should also be avoided, as they have not been shown to work and may even be harmful.
Why Parents Want Their Baby to Have a Blanket
To question Dr. Murray about the benefits of blankets for babies she will say there are none. Despite the cold, she maintains the wearable blankets or sleep sacks are safe and give ample warmth. Experts agree that parents should wait until their kid is a year old before using blankets on him or her, but many parents still feel the need to use the baby blanket that their grandmother gave them. Just make sure you don’t do this! Several factors contribute to this.
Blankets Can Be Cozy
There is nothing more unappealing to grownups than a mattress that has no covers on it. With the best of intentions, new parents who have received baby blankets, afghans, or quilts may be eager to spruce up their child’s crib.
What Dr. Murray believes is that as parents we often have preconceived notions of how things should be—we have a sheet on our own mattresses and blankets on our own beds so that is what a bed should be.” It’s not uncommon for young children to wake up in the middle of the night, making a blanket an unnecessary hassle because it tends to fall off or lump up.”
Know that if you put your baby to bed in the proper sleepwear, they will be fine and safe without a blanket (but not too warm).
Blankets Have Sentimental Value
Your new baby is sure to be the center of attention, so it’s understandable that you’d want to show off the unique gifts you’ve received from family and friends right away. Rebecca Freidman notes that many of these are handcrafted and fashioned with affection. “Parents should evaluate the dangers of SUID before wrapping their newborn in a special blanket.”
Hang it on the wall, drape it over a glider or rocker, or spread it out on the floor for your baby’s tummy time if you’re nervous about using a particular blanket.
It Can Provide Comfort and Security
Becker Friedman believes that if your child’s blanket becomes a “lovey,” it can serve as a positive sleep association or indicator that it’s time to go to bed. According to her, “a blanket lovey can be a first step in a child’s development of a sense of self-determination.
Is there yet another expert in the field? Instead of calling for you, your child may snuggle with their favorite toy to fall asleep or return to bed. After the first birthday, “you may certainly work on connection to a lovey, but wait until at least 12 months before placing it in the crib,” she adds.
Risks of Introducing a Blanket Too Quickly
The risk of unintentional suffocation increases if you introduce a blanket into your baby’s sleep environment too early—any time during the baby’s first year of life. The most prevalent cause of infant death is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which occurs when a baby is placed in a crib with a blanket, pillow, crib bumper, or stuffed animal.
Is Swaddling Safer for Babies Than Loose Blankets?
For warmth and security, parents wrap their babies in swaddling blankets, leaving only their heads uncovered. As long as your baby isn’t yet able to turn over, swaddling may be a better option than a blanket for your child. Healthy sleep and a sense of security can be achieved via the use of this method.
Sudden death occurs infrequently in neonates who are swaddled. Those who use swaddling blankets should always put their babies to sleep on their backs. Swaddling should be discontinued after a baby rolls over (or attempts to roll), usually about 2 months of age, due to the increased risk of asphyxia when a newborn sleeps on their tummy. Parents should be on the lookout for babies who roll over before the 2-month mark and cease swaddling them as soon as they do so in either direction (even if only coming up on their side).
When can I introduce a blanket?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there is no formal age at which it is 100% safe to put a blanket, quilt, or comforter in the crib for healthy babies after 12 months of age and ideally when they are 18 months or older.
As a result, it’s best to wait until your baby is at least 18 months old before wrapping her in a blanket at night or during her naps. It is possible to utilize a thin blanket and a small, special lovey as part of the tuck-in procedure after 18 months.
Remember that even if you plan to place your baby on top of the blanket, rather than under it, it could still become wrapped around her as she moves in her sleep or becomes stuck in the crib corners at night. Soft bedding should be avoided.
When can I put my baby to bed swaddled in a blanket and when is it no longer safe?
Since babies are commonly swaddled in a blanket, are you perplexed by the no-blanket policy? Don’t panic; swaddling a baby at night is perfectly OK, and it’s even advised as a technique to soothe a fussy child and encourage a good night’s sleep.
From the time your baby is born until he or she first tries to roll over, you can safely use a swaddle blanket or a swaddle sleep sack (at around 3 or 4 months, but sometimes earlier). Suffocation risk is increased when you put additional blanket on top of your swaddled baby, therefore avoid doing so.
How Can I Make Sure My Baby Is Warm Without a Blanket?
Parents don’t need to use blankets to keep their babies at the perfect temperature as they sleep.
Layer Your Baby’s Clothing
As an alternative to giving your infant a blanket, consider layering their clothing. Avoid adding more than one layer to your baby’s sleepwear if the temperature is the same as it is outside.
Adjust Bedroom Temperature
In your baby’s room, set the temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Babies sleep better at a temperature that is just right for them. Because SIDS is more likely to occur in an overheated room, keeping it at a reasonable temperature is even more critical.
Wrap Your Baby in a Swaddle or Sleep Sack
When it’s cold outside, your baby will appreciate the extra warmth and security that comes with being swaddled. Wearable blankets and swaddling robes provide similar warmth and security, but they zip shut. A choking hazard can be created by a baby’s sleep sack that is too small, so be sure to check the size before you put your little one to bed. Swaddling or sleeping bags can be included as one layer of clothes when it comes to dressing your baby. Keep in mind that once the baby learns to roll in any direction, it is best to discontinue swaddling.
Safe Sleep Guidelines for Babies
In addition to waiting until a baby is one year old before introducing a blanket to sleep, parents can follow additional safety measures to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep.
Always Place Your Baby on Their Back to Sleep
You should always lay your infant on his or her back for naps and nighttime sleep until he or she is 12 months old. As they get older, they may be able to roll over in their sleep on their own. Even if you’re in the middle of this stage, always put your baby to bed on their back the first time.
Put Your Baby to Sleep in a Crib
The safest place for your infant to sleep at night is in a crib or something comparable, such as a bassinet or a bedside sleeper. Other pieces of furniture, such as couches and chairs, can pose a serious risk to children. Sleeping in a car seat, a stroller or a baby carrier is not recommended for long periods of time. A firm mattress should be used as quickly as possible if your baby falls asleep on one of these contraptions. Parents may decide to transition their infant to a toddler bed when he or she becomes bigger.
Use a Firm Mattress That Fits the Crib
Using a firm mattress in your baby’s cot can help lower the chance of suffocation and keep the temperature down, which ensures a safe and comfortable sleep environment for your child. Memory foam should not be used in the mattress since it can be overly soft or conforming, which can be dangerous. There should also be no gap between the crib’s walls and the hard mattress.
Keep the Crib Free of Objects, Including Bedding
For the first year of your child’s life, keep their crib as clutter-free as possible by removing all of the baby’s blankets, cushions, and toys. Suffocation can occur as a result of one of these items. However, giving your baby a pacifier is perfectly safe and may even lower the chance of SIDS.
It’s best to use a fitted sheet that doesn’t bunch or come undone when on the crib mattress. Parents may incorrectly feel that laying a blanket flat beneath a baby is the same as using it to cover him. There should be no other bedding in a baby’s crib when he or she is sleeping, regardless of where the crib is positioned.
Do Not Sleep With Your Baby in Your Bed
A baby’s risk of harm or suffocation rises if you share your bed with him or her at night. Consider sharing a room instead. Parents may keep an eye on their infant’s needs while sleeping in the same room as them in a crib or bassinet, reducing the danger of suffocation. For the first six to twelve months of a baby’s life, sharing a room is really advised because it can reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 50%.
Set a Consistent Bedtime Routine
Early childhood growth depends heavily on sleep, and a regular bedtime routine aids in the establishment of good sleep habits. Consistent pre-sleep rituals, such as reading a book, singing lullabies, cuddling with your kid, or giving them a bath, can help establish a distinct night and day for babies and help them prepare for sleep each night. It’s critical to instill a positive association with sleep from an early age by teaching appropriate sleep habits and practicing them yourself.