When it comes to babies, there are numerous safety precautions that parents must take, especially at bedtime. Parents are often told to remove any soft bedding, bumpers, or toys from their baby’s sleep space to reduce the risk of suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and while it can be easy to keep toys out of the bed, it may be harder to keep your baby warm and comfortable without a blanket. Knowing when you can safely put a blanket in your baby's crib is so important, but is there an exact age or requirement your little one should meet?
Turns out, you may have to wait until their first birthday. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies should sleep on their backs on a flat surface free of blankets, pillows, or other soft items, until the age of 1 to reduce the risk of SIDS. On their Healthy Children website, the AAP explained that there is no research to support when these items are safe to use in the bed, but they will pose very little risk to your baby after 12 months.
If your baby is under 12 months, but you feel that they need extra warmth, Baby Center suggested using sleeper suits, wearable blankets, or sleep sacks, which can come in sizes up to 24 months. Parenting noted that some pediatricians allow babies over 6 months to use a blanket, as long as it is small and light enough for them to crawl out of.
After 6 months, if you do use a blanket, Child Safety Experts suggested only using a thin, extremely light blanket, which you should tuck under the mattress at the foot of the baby’s bed. They advised that the blanket should only go up to the baby’s chest, and you should make sure your baby’s head is uncovered when they sleep.
Following the recommendations set out by the AAP is very important, and if you still have concerns about your baby’s sleep environment, you can always consult your pediatrician. When it comes to your baby, safety should always be a priority.