image001When you find out you are having a baby, one of the first things you probably want to do is to shop for all the cute things that babies need. That includes those adorable blankets that are almost impossibly soft. But before you plunk down the money for those beautiful blankets, keep in mind that it will be some time before your baby can actually use them. But when can babies sleep with a blanket? This article below will try to give an answer.

When Can Babies Sleep with Blankets?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should never put quilts, comforters, blankets, pillows, or any other soft, loose bedding where the child sleeps. This is a precaution against sudden infant death syndrome, better known as SIDS. Studies have shown that adding these soft blankets and other material increases the chances of SIDS by fivefold, regardless of the position they are sleeping in.

Therefore, experts recommend that you wait until after your baby’s first birthday before handing over a blanket. That’s because after one year, a baby usually has pretty good control of their hands and upper bodies, and can thus move away anything that might be a suffocation hazard, like a blanket or pillow that has been left in their sleeping area.

But regardless, later is better than sooner when it comes to giving your baby a blanket. Babies who move around a great deal at night run the risk of getting tangled up in blankets. When they try to get loose, they can get frustrated, and that leads to nighttime waking and crying. But when they try to stand up in their crib, that tangled blanket might trip them, leading to falls, bumps and bruises. Given that, some experts recommend waiting until your baby is eighteen months old before giving them a blanket.

How Can You Know If Your Babies Can Sleep with Blankets?

Knowing when can babies sleep with blankets is one thing; is your baby ready for blankets is another thing. Every baby is different, and what works for one might not work for another. So to be sure when the risk of giving your baby a blanket has passed, try out these little tests:



Cover your baby with a blanket while he’s awake

When your baby is awake, cover his body with a thin blanket. Do this once he is old enough to crawl and lift his head.

Watch to see if he crawls out

Can your baby get free of the blanket? If he rolls over, crawls out, or pushes it off, he might be able to sleep with a blanket. But if not, wait for a few more weeks and then try the test again.

Talk to a pediatrician

Your baby’s doctor is familiar with your child’s growth and ability, so ask the doctor whether they feel your baby is ready for a blanket. Be sure to tell the doctor about the tests you did to see if your baby could push the blanket away. Pay attention to what your doctor has to say about whether it’s okay to let him use a blanket.

Precautions to Take When Babies Sleep with Blankets

If you do choose to let your baby sleep with blankets, there are certain steps you should take to ensure that he is safe.



Use only thin blankets

Make sure that the blanket you use is very thin, as thicker blankets could trap a baby and suffocate him. The blanket should be made of cotton, nothing else, and should be long enough to tuck into the mattress at the base of the crib or bassinet. The blanket should come up to the baby’s chest – never put a blanket over a baby’s shoulders.

Try to avoid using blankets

Even if it’s okay to do so, you might want to avoid blankets. That’s because blankets can heat a baby up quickly and make them feel restricted, both of which are not good for sleeping. A nice, heavy sleepwear can be perfect for the baby instead of a blanket.

Consider sleep sacks

A sleep sack, or a big gown that covers the baby’s entire body, can make a great alternative to the blanket. Babies love being swaddled, but when they get older they want more room to move. The sleep sack is perfect for this transition, and it is much safer than any blanket. Sleep sacks are also a great way to keep a baby warm.

Keep the clothing appropriate

When the room is too cold, it can be very tempting to cover your baby with a blanket. To avoid that temptation, make sure the baby is dressed appropriately in the first place. Cold weather calls for warmer clothing, such as heavier sleep sacks, cozy socks and perhaps small cardigans that fit snugly around the upper body. You can also try dressing your baby in a cotton one-piece, and then add footed pajamas or a sleep sack on top of that. Remember, layers keep a baby warm, just like they keep parents warm!

Watch the room temperature

You can avoid the problem of needing blankets altogether by keeping the baby’s room toasty warm. Install a heater in your baby’s room if necessary, one that is kept well away from the crib or sleeping area. Drafts can make a room very uncomfortable, so make sure the windows and doors are closed. Windows should have good weather seals on them. Finally, turn up the heat in the house, so that when you bring your baby out of their room, they will not be shocked by the colder air in the rest of the home.

The following video has more information on sleep sacks, including how to use them and why they are so great for babies: