Last Updated: February 1, 2023
Hey new parents! Did you know there’s a specific age when you can introduce your baby to a blanket? Like most parents, you probably have a lot of questions about when your baby can start using one, what the potential risks of using a blanket too soon are, and how to keep your baby warm without a blanket. After all, you want to make sure your little one is safe and comfortable. So, when can the baby sleep with a blanket? Here’s what you need to know on the subject.
Why Shouldn’t Babies Sleep With a Blanket?
Giving your baby a blanket before a certain age is considered a safety hazard, as there are several reasons why you might want to wait before introducing your baby to a blanket. Take a look at some of them:
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death for babies between one month and one year old. SIDS is defined as the sudden, unexplained death of an infant under one year old, usually during sleeping. It’s believed that certain risk factors for babies like sleeping with a blanket, having clean toys in the crib, or their sleeping position increase the baby’s risk of SIDS. For this reason, the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) has established safe sleep guidelines, such as ABCs of safe sleep, which stands for Alone, Back, and Crib. This means babies should sleep alone, on their backs, and on a firm sleep surface such as a crib mattress.
Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)
Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) is a catch-all term for any sudden death of an infant under one year old, including deaths from SIDS, as well as other causes like accidental suffocation and strangulation. While the exact cause of SUID is unknown, certain risk factors like covering a baby with a blanket at night increase the risk of it happening.
Overheating and Difficulty Sleeping
Overheating is a major concern for babies, as it can lead to serious health problems like heat stroke. When babies get too warm, their bodies are unable to cool down properly, which can be dangerous. Having a thick blanket or many layers of clothes will cause overheating, potentially leading to night wakings and unwanted consequences like breathing problems and heat strokes.
|DID YOU KNOW: SIDS is the third leading cause of infant mortality in the United States, with approximately 2,500 babies dying every year.
When Can a Baby Sleep With a Blanket?
Now that you know the risks of using a blanket, you might be wondering when your newborn can start sleeping with one. To reduce the risk of SIDS and SUID, the AAP recommends waiting until your baby is at least 12 months old to introduce a light blanket, and 18 months if you’re using a heavy or quilted blanket. When the time comes, there are a few tips on how to safely use a blanket in the crib—make sure to choose a lightweight blanket that doesn’t have any loose threads or pieces that could come detached. Also, don’t put the blanket over chest level, and avoid putting stuffed animals, pillows, or any other objects in the crib, as these can increase the risk of SIDS.
Most pediatricians recommend :
- 0–4 months – swaddling
- 4–12 months – no blankets or soft bedding
- 12+ months – slowly introduce blankets, pillows or a stuffed animal
If you’re wondering when your baby can start using those fine fuzzy blankets you bought, talk to your pediatrician for personalized advice based on your child’s health and development.
How Can I Keep My Baby Warm at Night Without a Blanket?
If you’re not sure how to safely use a blanket in the crib or you’re worried about your baby getting too warm, there are other ways to keep them cozy at night.
Putting the Right Clothes on Your Baby
You can dress your baby in warm clothes to help them sleep comfortably. Babies sleep best in light clothing, so avoid using thick fabric or too many layers—a good rule of thumb is to dress them in one more layer than you’d wear. For example, if you’re comfortable in a T-shirt and shorts, your baby should wear onesies and pants. To choose the right clothes for when the baby is sleeping in a crib with no blanket depending on the room temperature, take a look at this guide:
|Type of clothing
|Light sleep sack and short-sleeve onesie
|Light sleep sack and long-sleeve pajamas
|Light sleep sack, long-sleeve pajamas, and short-sleeve onesie
|Light sleep sack, long-sleeve pajamas, and long-sleeve onesie
|Light sleep sack, long-sleeve pajamas, long-sleeve onesie, and socks
|Below 60 °F
|Light sleep sack, long-sleeve pajamas, long sleeve-onesie, socks, hat, and mittens
Setting the Right Temperature
The ideal room temperature for a baby’s sleep space is between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help your baby stay comfortable and prevent them from overheating, even if you’re not covering the baby with a blanket at night. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature of the room and make adjustments as needed.
Using a Swaddle
Swaddling is a great way to keep your baby warm through the night. It involves wrapping your baby in a blanket (like a burrito!) so they can’t move their arms or legs, which keeps them safe and prevents them from startling awake. In addition, swaddling is one of the ways to get your baby to sleep in a crib in the first place.
Using a Sleep Sack
Sleep sacks are sleeveless blankets that your baby wears like a vest. They’re less likely to cause overheating than regular blankets, and they can help your baby feel secure and cozy even without baby blankets in cribs. You can find sleep sacks at most stores that sell baby products, or you can make your own.
Keeping the Baby Away From Winds and Drafts
Wind and drafts can cause your baby to get cold, so it’s important to keep them away from any open windows or doors. You can also use a fan in the room to circulate the air and prevent your baby from getting too warm.
Preheating the Crib
If you’re worried about your baby getting cold during the night, you can preheat their crib before they go to sleep. Just turn on the heater for a few minutes before bedtime and turn it off once your baby is asleep to keep the room warm and safe for the baby to sleep with no blanket without making it too hot.
|DID YOU KNOW: Since 2011, in the United States, full-size cribs and mattress dimensions have been regulated by federal legislation. Crib mattresses must be at least 27 1/4 inches wide, 51 1/4 inches long, and no more than six inches thick, and the best crib mattresses are the firm ones.
|Giving your newborn a blanket before a certain age may cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), or overheating and difficulty sleeping.
|If your baby still doesn’t use a blanket, swaddling and sleeping sacks are great ways to keep them warm and help them sleep through the night.
|When can babies sleep with a blanket? Well, you should introduce a blanket to your baby’s sleeping routine when the baby is at least 12 months.
|To keep your baby safe while sleeping, make sure the crib mattress is firm, the room temperature is between 68–72 °F, and the baby is sleeping on the back and isn’t dressed in too many layers.
Other Ways to Keep Your Baby Safe While They Sleep
As a parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your baby safe, including making sure they’re sleeping in a safe environment. Here are some tips on how to keep your baby safe while they sleep:
Babies should always sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. When your baby starts rolling over, it can be a sign that the age for a blanket in the crib for your baby has come, and you can use a pillow or stuffed animal to prop up their head and prevent it from rolling.
As mentioned above, the ideal room temperature for a baby’s sleep space is between 68-72 °F. You can use a thermometer to check the room temperature and make adjustments as needed.
Type of Crib and Mattress
It’s important to use a firm mattress that fits snugly in the crib. The mattress should have a waterproof cover to protect your baby from spills and accidents, and the crib should be protected with crib bumpers as well. You should make sure the crib meets all safety standards set by the CPSC.
While it’s not safe for a baby to sleep with a blanket, the crib position also plays its part in your child’s safety. Your baby’s crib should be placed in a safe location away from any windows or doors. You should also avoid placing the crib near any cords or electrical outlets.
Using a Pacifier
Pacifiers can help reduce the risk of SIDS, so it’s a good idea to give your baby one before they go to sleep. You can find pacifiers at most stores that sell baby products.
So, when can babies sleep with a blanket? It really depends on the individual child—some may be ready as early as six months old, while others may not be ready until closer to their first birthday. The important thing is to pay attention to your child’s cues and follow their lead. If they seem uncomfortable or restless with a blanket, it’s probably best to wait a bit longer before introducing one. And, as always, consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns.
Babies can have blankets after a certain age, and the blankets should be lightweight and breathable to reduce the risk of SIDS. You should also make sure the blanket is tucked in securely so your baby can’t pull it over their face.
If your baby isn’t sleeping in a crib with a blanket yet, there are a few ways to keep them warm. You can dress your baby in layers, use a sleep sack, or swaddle your baby in a blanket so they can’t move their arms or legs, thus keeping them warm and safe.
It really depends on the individual child. The important thing is to pay attention to your child’s cues and follow their lead. Some may be ready as early as six months old, while others may not. Like many worried new parents, you may be wondering when can a baby sleep with a blanket—just to be safe, don’t give your baby a blanket until their first birthday.