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Can Babies Sleep With Blankets?

Aug 28 12 mo old baby with blanketThere are no such things as safe comforters for babies. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly half of all crib deaths each year are caused by soft bedding, such as comforters, pillows or blankets placed with babies. Unlike older children, infants don’t possess the muscle strength or the coordination to extricate themselves should their faces become covered by fabric. This can result in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, when a perfectly healthy child simply dies for no foreseeable reason.

If you’re worried about your infant becoming entangled in bedding, follow these guidelines set forth by experts to help keep the unthinkable from happening.

1. Put the Crib in Your Room

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep in the same room as their parents, but in their own bed that’s safe for babies, such as a standard crib or bassinet. This helps to alert Mom or Dad more quickly if an entanglement issue occurs.

2. Keep the Crib Bare

What goes in the crib? Nothing but a tight-fitting sheet and the baby, at least while he or she is sleeping. Baby should be placed on his or her back inside an empty crib, when it’s time for bed. No crib bumpers, no sleep positioners, no soft toys or pillows should come near the crib when the baby is in it.

3. Use Alternative Methods to Keep Baby Warm

baby boy in sleeper pjs.jpgIf it’s chilly in the room where baby sleeps, turn the temperature up a bit. Between 68 and 72 degrees is a safe standard, but if the room feels comfortable to you, then it should be fine for baby. You can also dress baby in close-fitting clothing that covers their arms and legs, such as sleepers or jumpers, to help them stay warm and snug.

4. Swaddle

Swaddling baby is another way to help them feel safe and stay warm, but it must be done correctly. Never swaddle a baby that’s old enough to roll over — usually any child over the age of two months. Use a thin blanket or a swaddle blanket that’s been specially designed for snug swaddling. Your swaddle can’t be too tight or you risk hurting the baby; it can’t be too loose or suffocation becomes a risk. While swaddling is fine for most families when done correctly, it’s also important to note that there’s a slight increase in SIDS rates among families who swaddle, says U.S. News and World Report.

5. Use the Back to Sleep Method

Infants should always be placed on their backs when it’s time for bed — never on their sides or tummies because they’re incapable of raising their heads should they need to. The Back-to-Sleep Campaign was launched in 1994, and SIDS-related deaths dropped 50 percent up through 2008, says the AAP. The name has since been changed to the Safe-to-Sleep Campaign to incorporate more risk factors for SIDS, including:

    • Placing baby on his or her stomach to sleep
    • Placing baby on a soft surface, such as a sofa or chair to sleep
    • Placing soft bedding with the baby
    • Sleeping in the same bed with the baby, especially if more than just one adult is present
    • Being subjected to cigarette smoke during or after pregnancy
    • Overheating

If you want babies to have safety blankets for comfort reasons, the AAP recommends waiting until they’re 12 months old. At this age, most children can push bedding away from their faces if needed. The risk of SIDS also drops at this age, making comforters and blankets less of a threat.

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