When Can Babies Sleep With A Blanket And Pillow?

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When can babies sleep with a pillow? If you want to know about the safety of putting a blanket or a pillow inside their babies’ car seats or stroller, this post is for you. A baby’s crib usually has a mattress or a soft rug, but parents want to make it cozier by adding pillows, soft toys, or other decorations.

However, it is not recommended to use pillows, blankets, or soft toys for babies until a certain age because these items may cause choking hazards.

Read on why babies should not sleep on a pillow and the right age for you to introduce a pillow, blanket, or stuffed toy in their bed.

When Can Babies Sleep With A Pillow?

Babies can sleep with a pillow only after they are 1.5 years or 18 months old (1). However, it is best to wait until they turn two years old before giving them a pillow (2).

Never provide a pillow for a younger baby or infant unless explicitly stated by a doctor.

When thinking about pillows, parents also wonder about using blankets or placing stuffed toys around the baby.

Can You Place Blanket And Soft Toy In The Baby’s Crib?

No. You should not place a blanket or soft toy inside the baby’s crib. The baby should sleep on a flat and bare soft mattress, without any additional items on it or in the crib (3) (4).

You can introduce a blanket to the baby around the same time you introduce the pillow, which is at 1.5 or 2 years. You can even consider adding soft toys to the crib around the same time, although you may avoid it for longer.

What Are The Risks Of Placing Pillows, Blankets, And Soft Toys In An Infant’s Crib?

Pillows, blankets, and stuffed toys can pose a choking hazard to an infant. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission of the US, pillows have been linked to nearly 700 infant deaths between 1992 and 2010. Almost two-thirds of these deaths were caused by suffocation due to a pillow (1).

The American Academy of Pediatrics also states that pillows, blankets, and stuffed toys can increase the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), where the baby dies suddenly during sleep, due to suffocation.

So, it is best to wait until your baby turns two years old when they have better motor skills and can push away a pillow that accidentally gets on their face. Older babies or toddlers can wriggle themselves out of the blanket if it makes them uncomfortable.

What If Your Baby Feels Cold And Needs A Blanket?

Experts state that if you are concerned that the baby may get cold on a chilly winter night, then dress him/her accordingly in warm clothes. Place a heater in the room, away from the baby’s crib to bring the temperature to a comfortable level. No matter what the season, your baby should not sleep with a blanket or a comforter until the age of two years.

Should You Choose A Special Pillow For The Baby?

Yes. Once your baby is old enough, buy a pillow that is specially made for their age. The same rule applies for a blanket and a comforter. A standard adult-size blanket is too large for a baby and must not be used instead of a baby-size blanket, which is made for infants of a specific age group.

Can You Place A Pillow Or Blanket Inside The Baby’s Stroller Or Car Seat?

No. There should be no pillows, blankets, or comforters in your baby’s stroller or car seat. You can place a stuffed toy dangling from a string, away from the baby’s face, if you think necessary. Pillows and blankets are choking hazards anywhere and can put your baby at risk if you do not pay attention.

Pillows and blankets are comfortable, but they can pose a choking hazard for a baby. Since babies have underdeveloped motor skills during the early years, they may not be able to push the blankets or pillows away if they obstruct their breathing during their sleep. Hence, to answer your question on “when can babies sleep with a pillow?” we suggest that it is safe to consider using pillows after a certain age. Until then, use alternative measures to keep the baby warm, such as cozy clothing or room heaters, which can keep the baby warm during cold weather.

Do you want to share any experiences or ideas with other parents? Write to us in the comments section.

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Dr. Wayne Hough

(MBChB, MMed, FC Paeds)
Dr. Wayne Hough is a pediatrician currently based in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town in South Africa. He got his medical degree from the University of Stellenbosch. He then worked at the Tygerberg Children's Hospital before completing his pediatric training and qualification from the South African College of Medicine. Dr. Hough also holds a MMed degree in pediatrics from... more

Rohit Garoo

Rohit Garoo is a zoologist-botanist turned writer with over 8 years of experience in content writing, content marketing, and copywriting. He has also done an MBA in marketing and human resources and worked in the domains of market research and e-commerce. Rohit writes topics related to health, wellness and development of babies. His articles featured on several notable websites, including... more