Are Pillows Safe For Babies? (The Answer Will Make You Make Changes)
When you hear the word pillows, you will most likely associate it with fluffy, comfort, hugging and sleeping comfortably. It has become a staple for sleeping. However, every person is different and more importantly, babies are different. There are also loads of cute pillows and we may think that it’s cute for babies. However, babies and pillows are actually not a good mix. In fact, pillows are a hazard for babies, especially for babies under 12 months.
How Can Pillow Be A Hazard For Babies
How can something soft be a hazard for baby? Well, it's that exactly; it's soft. The NHS (National Health Service) and the NIH (National Institute of Health) advises parents and guardians not to use pillows, duvets, memory foam, and other soft materials for sleeping on babies under 12 months. These things increase the chance of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
You and I can appreciate a soft pillow, duvets, or mattresses. However, you have to keep in mind that babies are not as strong as us. They don't have the muscle control for pushing away their bodies when they are "sinking" or pressed against the softness. Pillows can cover mouths and nose for breathing, which is why it is a hazard.
What's A Safe Sleeping Space For A Baby?
The NIH shows in their website what a safe environment looks like. Here are some of their tips and suggestions for a safe sleep environment:
- Baby mattresses are firm for a reason. Use a firm sleep surface that has a safety approval from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Cover the surface with a very fitted sheet.
- There is no need for pillows, blankets, or crib bunkers anywhere near the baby's sleep place. These things are more hazardous than helpful.
- Avoid soft objects and toys in your baby's bed. You should also avoid small objects that could be a choking hazard.
- A safe sleeping environment for a baby is one that has no cords, ropes, or anything that could strangle or choke. Keep baby monitors and other equipment with wiring, at least three feet away from the baby’s sleep area. Make sure nothing is covering your baby's head; not a pillow, a stuffed animal, a hoodie or cap, etc.
What If My Baby Gets Cold?
You might be worried about the room temperature and about your baby getting cold. Instead of using duvets and thick blankets, just dress them in warm clothing. You can also use a thin blanket but with caution. Be aware that this can get in their face and cover their mouth or nose. Tuck the blanket lower than their shoulders.
When Should Your Baby Begin Using Pillows?
There is no specific rule as to when it's safe to give a pillow to a baby. When the baby is old enough to move around, crawl, and roll over, then you can consider pillows. Even then, you need to make sure the pillow is not too big, not too soft and is breathable.
When your baby is already pulling himself or herself up, he or she might use it as a stand to get out of a crib. That said, you should reconsider giving pillows at that age. Otherwise, you can also just take it out when they are awake so they won't have tools or props for climbing or even throwing.
Finally, you should also consider what type of pillow you will use on your kid. Some materials might be prone to dust and can irritate your child. You should also not use memory foam on because it tends to give a "sinking" feeling. Start with a nice, small and flat pillow that is recommended for babies.
Other Safety Precautions And Guidlines For Sleeping Baby
- Whether you decide to use a cot, a bassinet or a crib, always make sure you check that they achieve safety standards. Look for a seal of approval from legitimate organizations that really aim for safe sleeping.
- Follow instructions when assembling the crib, cot or bassinet. If you are unsure of something, don't be afraid to ask. It's always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your baby.
- Keep the baby's bed away from hanging cords and drapes, especially when they can already stand, grab and climb.
- It's really best to have no stuffed animals or pillows in the sleeping area, especially when your baby is asleep. If you think it's safe to have some stimulations such as a stuffed animal, make sure you are watchful.
- Use bumper pads with caution. Make sure they are connected properly and are at no risk of falling or tipping on to your baby. When your baby can stand and climb, you can remove the pads since they might use to elevate themselves.
- Let your baby sleep on their backs during the night and during naps. It reduces the risks of SIDS. When they are older, they will learn to roll and even sleep on their tummy.
- Babies shouldn't sleep on an adult's bed, a couch, or a chair even if it is with you or anyone else.
- Make sure nothing is covering the baby’s face.
- Never smoke in your baby's room or anywhere near the baby.
- In the first six months, you might want your baby's bed in the same room as you. It's easier for you as you can adjust on feeding schedule as well.
A baby doesn’t need much accessories to sleep well and safe. In fact, the lesser items they have in their bed, the better. You will most likely know better when it is safe to give a pillow, but when you do start, start flat.
Has your baby started using pillows? If so, what kind did you get him or her? What other tips can you give other parents about safe sleeping and use of pillows for babies? Comment them below.