When it comes to safety for your baby, there are a few key things you can do to create a comfortable and safe sleeping environment. One of the most important things you can do is avoid blankets during the early months of your baby. Swaddling can help keep your baby secure while they sleep, and establishing a nightly routine will help ensure that your baby sleeps through the night without any problems. Whether you want to swaddle, modify an older blanket to decrease SIDS, or establish a consistent nighttime routine, we cover those details in this article and how can you create a safe sleeping environment for your child.
Is it safe for babies to sleep with blankets?
As a parent, the safety and well-being of your baby should always be top of mind. While blankets may seem like a cozy addition to your little one’s crib, they actually pose a significant hazard. In fact, around 3,600 infants in the United States each year die unexpectedly in their sleep, with sudden infant deaths (SIDS) or suffocation, strangulation or entrapment being the main culprits.
Using blankets in cribs increases the risk of these types of incidents occurring. Babies can easily become tangled or trapped under a blanket while sleeping, which can lead to serious consequences. Additionally, babies who are too young to roll over on their own may not have the ability to move their heads if they become smothered by a blanket.
To ensure that your baby is safe while sleeping, it’s best to avoid using blankets altogether.
Wedges, mattresses, or special hidden surfaces marketed as SIDS prevention products often claim to keep babies in a specific position during sleep or improve airflow around them. While some parents may feel reassured by these claims, experts caution against using them because they can actually increase the risk of SIDS. For example, wedges or other positioning devices can lead to suffocation if a baby rolls over onto their stomach while sleeping.
When Can Baby Sleep With a Blanket
The American Academy of Pediatrics has provided new guidelines for parents regarding the safety of their babies. According to these guidelines, it is not safe for a baby to rest in a blanket when they are younger than one-year-old. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) most often affects infants between the ages of birth and six months old. However, death can be a possibility for infants from 6 months to 12 months old as well.
The risk factors associated with placing blankets on young babies include overheating, suffocation, or entrapment. The weight of the blanket could also pose risks and potentially cause problems while sleeping. In order to reduce the risk of SIDS, it’s recommended not to place any soft objects in your child’s sleeping area such as blankets, quilts, comforters or pillows.
Connection Between Blankets and SIDS
It’s a common practice to tuck ourselves in bed with a cozy blanket at night. However, sometimes we may accidentally pull the covers up too high and end up re-breathing our own carbon dioxide. This can lead to a decrease in oxygen levels in our body, which is not only uncomfortable but can also be dangerous.
For newborn babies and infants, this danger is even greater as they do not have the ability to move or remove blankets from their faces if they are not awakened. Unfortunately, this scenario has led to many incidents of accidental suffocation among infants who were left unattended while sleeping with blankets or other loose bedding.
One of the main recommendations is to avoid having any soft objects in their sleep space. This includes items such as blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, and bumper pads.
The reason for this recommendation is that these objects can pose a suffocation or strangulation hazard for young babies who are unable to move themselves out of dangerous positions. Even if a baby appears comfortable and content with these items in their sleep space, it’s important to remember that safety should always come first when it comes to infants. The only exception to this rule is the use of a snug fitted sheet, your baby, and a sleep sack if required.
Swaddling for babies
Swaddling has been a longstanding practice for many parents. Not only does it help calm and soothe newborns, but it also helps them sleep better. However, as much as we would like to keep our babies comfortable and warm, using a blanket or any soft object in their cribs before they turn 1 is not recommended. This is because blankets can pose a suffocation hazard to infants who are too young to move away from them.
To ensure that your baby is safe while sleeping, experts recommend using a swaddle or sleep sack until they reach the age where they can roll over on their own. Generally speaking, this occurs when your baby is around three to four months old. Once your little one starts rolling over, there’s an increased risk that they may become tangled up in their swaddle which could lead to suffocation.
Swaddling is a time-tested technique used to soothe babies and help them sleep better. However, it’s essential to swaddle your baby correctly to prevent them from breaking free and potentially harming themselves during their sleep. If you’re not familiar with the proper way of swaddling, there are several things you need to keep in mind.
Firstly, ensure that the blanket is tight enough around your baby’s body so that it cannot wiggle out of it. Secondly, avoid covering your baby’s head or face while swaddling as it can lead to suffocation or overheating. Lastly, always lay your baby on their back while swaddling as this reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). By following these simple rules, you can create a safe and secure sleeping environment for your little one.
Tips to make sleep safe for babies
Keeping the crib clear of objects is one of the things you can do to provide a safe sleeping environment for your child as they grow:
- If you want to keep your infant safe from suffocation for the first six months of her life, you should ensure you don’t co-sleep. If you choose to co-sleep with your baby, it’s vital to eliminate all blankets, sheets, and pillows from the room where the baby will sleep.
- Dress your child in one layer of clothing more than you would do for yourself in the evening. To determine if your child is cold or hot and is experiencing changes in their breathing, examine the neck’s back to determine if it’s warm or humid and check for cheeks that appear flushed. (It’s recommended to keep your baby’s bed in a cool area to avoid excessive heat.)
- To keep a crib clear of blankets, pillows, and toys, clean it free of bumpers as well. Bumpers may seem like a cute addition to your nursery decor, but they pose the same suffocation hazards as toys and loose bedding and can also be used to assist older children in climbing out of the crib.
- If your newborn has the strength and movement needed to move around and maintain a standing position. When your baby rolls over and sees, it is very easy for him or her to lie down again as the baby can already do this within minutes. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you continue putting them on their backs when you put them in the crib.
- Having wedges, positioners, and special mattresses in the home has been proved not to protect against SIDS. On the other hand, pacifiers are thought to decrease your chances of SIDS and must be used at naps if your little one uses a pacifier.
- Although a sleeping child might risk choking when lying down on a blanket, your child should not be left unattended in a swing, reclining chair, or car seat. If your little one takes a nap after a feeding session, carefully place them back into either their crib or bassinet when you awaken.
- If your kid is just beginning to learn how to stand up and move around in the crib, keep in mind to lock or tighten any bolts that could enable the child to break free from the crib. The impulse to climb out or jump head-first is a strong one for very young children who are unaware.
- When your child begins to resemble he may roll, stop swaddling. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends cutting the swaddle no later than 2 months of age if you’re concerned about your baby rolling out. This is because your baby is likely to need their hands to get around.
- The crib’s location should be unobstructed on all sides, and you should remove any draperies and artwork above it and at the base of the crib. You could inadvertently pull objects onto your child in the event of mobile furniture or items nearby, so your child’s safety must be considered in the décor decorations.
- Make sure that any cribs or beds in the room are kept baby proofed and ready to go in the event of a child’s escape. You won’t have to worry about them getting hurt as a result of something in their environment if you’ve already taken the time to be watchful beforehand.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against permitting a baby under the age of one year to sleep with a blanket to prevent sudden infant death syndrome. Such deaths most frequently occur between birth and six months in the first year of life, but risks can persist beyond the age of a year.
Within 18 months, a compact, lightweight blanket will work well for the majority of babies, between 12 and 18 months old, ask your doctor at their discretion or consult your baby’s doctor.
Rather than adding blankets, add a layer of clothing. For example, you may want to determine whether your baby can benefit from using a vest under his or her baby-grow or pajamas. You may want to put your baby in a navy onesie with feet when it is cold, but in an open onesie during warmer times of the year.
It’s important to create a safe sleeping environment for your baby by introducing a blanket when they are newborns, establishing a consistent nightly routine, and using swaddling techniques. By following these tips, you can ensure your baby has a healthy sleep cycle and stays safe while they’re sleeping.
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