Of course, all parents want to make sure your baby sleeps safely and comfortably — both for them, and for you! Among the many(!) questions that new parents may have, one which is frequently discussed is “when can babies sleep with a blanket?”
Of course, a cozy blanket will provide a newborn with warmth and comfort, but they can also pose a risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation if they’re not placed correctly.
In this Modvive article, we will discuss the guidelines for safe sleep, the risk factors, and tips for parents to help their baby sleep safely with a blanket.
When can babies sleep with a blanket?
Childcare specialists, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) highly recommend that babies under one years old don’t use a blanket. Why? As discussed above, loose blankets can heighten the risk of SIDS and suffocation in newborns. This happens when an infants can pulls the blanket over their face while sleeping. Of course, in a situation like this, a tiny baby cannot call for help or remove themselves from danger.
However, some parents may choose to use a lightweight blanket for their baby once they are past the newborn stage. If you do choose to use a blanket, we have included below some pointers from the APP which will help to keep baby safe.
Safe Sleep Guidelines for Babies
The first way to reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation, as an advisory from the AAP, is that babies should always sleep on their back. This means during every single sleep — including nap time — baby should be placed on their back.
Here are some other safe sleep guidelines for babies:
- Use a firm and flat sleep surface, such as a crib or bassinet with a fitted sheet. Avoid using soft surfaces like adult beds, couches, or chairs, as they can increase the risk of suffocation.
- Keep a clear sleep space. Items like pillows, toys, or blankets can cause suffocation or choking.
- Dress your baby in a sleep sack or wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep them warm and safe.
- Do not let your baby overheat. Dress your baby in lightweight clothing and avoid using too many blankets.
- Share your room with your baby, but not your bed. The AAP recommends that babies should sleep in the same room as their parents, but in their own crib or bassinet.
Risk Factors for SIDS and Suffocation
Certain factors can increase the risk of SIDS and suffocation in babies. These include:
- Sleeping on the stomach or side: Always put your baby to sleep on their back, as this is the safest sleep position.
- Soft sleeping surfaces: As mentioned earlier, avoid using soft surfaces like adult beds, couches, or chairs, as they can increase the risk of suffocation.
- Overheating: Babies can easily overheat, this in turn can unfortunately increase the risk of SIDS. It’s recommended that you dress your baby in lightweight clothing and avoid using too many blankets.
- Smoking: It’s no secret that exposure to secondhand smoke is detrimental to everyone’s health, but it can also increase the risk of SIDS and suffocation.
- High risk babies are more susceptible: Premature babies or babies with a low birth weight are statistically at a higher risk of suffocation and SIDs.
Tips for Parents
Once the baby is one year and older and you feel ready to start using a blanket, there are a few advisories to keep baby safe:
- Wait until your baby is at least one year old before introducing a blanket.
- Use a lightweight blanket that is made for babies, such as a swaddling blanket or a sleep sack.
- Make sure the blanket is securely tucked in around the baby’s mattress, so it cannot come loose and cover the baby’s face.
- Avoid using blankets that have loose threads, fringe, or decorations that could be a choking hazard.
- If a room is very cold, dress your baby in appropriate clothing and use a sleep sack or wearable blanket — don’t drape them with loose blanket.
- Check on your baby regularly to ensure the blanket has not become loose or covering their face.
- Last but not least, if you still have concerns or questions about blankets, or if don’t know whether your baby is ready for a loose blanket in their crib, we always advise that you consult with your family doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a receiving blanket to cover my baby while sleeping?
No, receiving blankets are not designed for use in cribs or bassinets. Use a sleep sack or wearable blanket instead.
When can I start using a blanket for my baby?
The AAP recommends waiting until your baby is at least one year old before introducing a blanket. However, some parents may choose to use a lightweight blanket for their baby once they are past the newborn stage.
How do I know if my baby is too hot or cold while sleeping?
Check your baby’s neck and chest to see if they are sweating or feel too warm. If they feel cold to the touch, add another layer of clothing or a sleep sack.
The Bottom Line
As you have seen, blankets — of course — provide warmth and comfort to babies, but they can also pose a risk for SIDS and suffocation.
The AAP recommends that babies should not sleep with blankets until they are at least one year old. When the time comes, and you move forward and use a blanket, make sure to follow the safe sleep guidelines.
Always place your baby on their back to sleep and keep their sleep area free of any objects that could cause suffocation or choking. We recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider if you have any overhanging questions or concerns about your baby’s sleep.
If you enjoyed these family-centric tips, you may enjoy our article where we discuss finding the perfect family vehicle.