As a parent, it can be difficult to know when it’s safe for your baby to sleep with a blanket. Blankets are a common way to keep babies warm and cosy, but they can also pose a serious suffocation risk if misused. Fortunately, alternative ways to keep your baby warm without using a blanket exist.
When Can Your Baby Sleep With a Blanket?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in a safe and separate sleeping environment, free from loose objects or soft bedding, until they are 12 months old. This includes blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, and other soft objects that could obstruct their breathing.
Before the age of one, a baby’s ability to regulate their body temperature is still developing, so it’s essential to keep them warm without overheating. Overheating has been linked to an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), so following safe sleep guidelines is essential.
Even after age one, caution is essential when introducing blankets into your baby’s sleeping environment. Choose lightweight blankets made from breathable materials, and avoid using anything that could potentially suffocate your baby, such as thick comforters, duvets, or quilts.
What to Use Instead of a Blanket
Fortunately, several safe alternatives to blankets can help keep your baby warm and cosy without putting them at risk. Here are a few options:
Sleep Sacks or Wearable Blankets
Sleep sacks or wearable blankets are designed to be worn over your baby’s regular sleepwear and can provide warmth without needing a blanket. They come in various styles and materials, from lightweight cotton to heavier fleece, and can be used from birth until your baby is ready to transition to a toddler bed.
Sleep sacks come in different sizes based on your baby’s weight and height, and they should fit snugly around your baby’s torso with enough room for their arms and legs to move freely. This can help reduce the risk of your baby getting tangled in loose blankets while they sleep.
Swaddling blankets can help soothe a fussy babies and keep them warm while they sleep. Swaddling involves wrapping your baby snugly in a blanket, which can help them feel secure and calm. However, it’s crucial to ensure the swaddle is not too tight and does not restrict your baby’s breathing or movement.
Swaddling is typically recommended for newborns up to about two months old or until your baby shows signs of rolling over independently. After that, it’s essential to transition to a different sleep solution to avoid the risk of suffocation.
Sleep positioners are designed to keep your baby in a specific position while they sleep and can help prevent them from rolling over onto their stomach, a risk factor for SIDS. They come in different shapes and sizes and can be made from foam or fabric.
However, it’s important to note that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend sleep positioners, as they can pose a risk of suffocation if not used properly. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and use them with caution.
When keeping your baby warm while they sleep, it’s crucial to prioritize safety over comfort. Blankets pose a severe risk of suffocation, especially for young babies, so avoiding using them until your baby is at least 12 months old is best.
Instead, consider using sleep sacks, swaddling blankets, or sleep positioners to keep your baby warm and comfortable. Always follow safe sleep guidelines and consult your paediatrician for any questions or concerns.