No need to sleep on it: Find out if pillows are safe for your baby

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As our babies become toddlers (12+ months), is the fear of SIDS no longer a risk?
As our babies become toddlers (12+ months), is the fear of SIDS no longer a risk?

When our children are babies, it is clear what the guidelines indicate when it comes to safe sleeping. The cot area should be clear (NO blanket, NO pillow and NO cot bumper), the mattress should be firm and breathable, and you should always put your baby down on their back. 

When my daughter moved to a big bed close to 3 years of age, having never slept with anything except the sleeping bag and her taglet, I faced the Big Bed with confusion. The bed sure looks odd without a pillow?  As our babies become toddlers (12+ months), is the fear of SIDS no longer a risk? 

As I started looking for the answer, I realized it is not so clear. Most safe sleep guidelines only cover up to 12 months of age.  

The recommended age to start introducing a pillow is the same age you move your toddler to a big bed/toddler bed or take the railing down on their cot, which is between 2.5 and 3 years. 

If your child is younger than this when they move to a big bed then they do not require a pillow, rather just use a safe sleeping bag. 

Read: 'It is discipline, not punishment': A mother's tips on how to avoid a bedtime blow-up

Not just a fluff piece

When choosing pillows and duvets though, keep in mind that your toddler's pillow and duvet will differ from yours initially. 

When deciding on a pillow, rather choose smaller than too big. Choose firm pillows for your growing toddler who needs proper neck support.   

The same goes for blankets and duvets, choose one that is not too heavy or too big. Larger blankets/duvets can present suffocation risks that smaller blankets do not present, even if your child is over 12 months of age.

Cushioning the blow: how to introduce the new sleep-mate

Toddlers easily adapt to the pillow, and though they do not sleep on it all night, this is nothing to worry about.  

It is quite a different story though with your toddler and their blanket. Toddlers are busy sleepers and often kick their blankets off - another reason to wait till 2.5 – 3 years to introduce the blanket.  

Once they are using a blanket or a duvet, you want to encourage them to start using it independently.  

Make them practice putting the blanket or duvet on themselves. Showing them how to pull it over themselves might take a while to perfect, but if you allow them to practice and don't just do it for them, they will get the hang of it quickly.

Republished with permission. Find the original article at Good Night Baby


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