Using blankets in a crib is a common practice for many parents. However, it’s important to follow safety guidelines to reduce the risk of suffocation, overheating, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Here are some tips on how to safely use blankets in your baby’s crib.
Types of Blankets for Cribs
- Muslin blankets – These are made from lightweight, breathable cotton and are ideal for warm weather or warm rooms. They allow air to circulate around your baby’s body.
- Receiving blankets – Similarly made from breathable materials like cotton, fleece or flannel. They should be thin and not exceed your baby’s chest level.
- Wearable blanket alternatives that zip up over your baby’s sleepwear. They come in different thicknesses for different temperatures.
- Allow your baby’s arms free movement while keeping their body warm. Recommended up to 2 years old.
- Safer than loose blankets which can shift up to cover your baby’s face.
- Fitted sheets that attach securely under the crib mattress. This prevents loose bedding from bunching up.
- Use alone in warm weather or layer a wearable blanket on top for colder temperatures.
Blanket Safety Guidelines
Allowed in Crib
- Muslin or lightweight cellular blankets – Only use thin, breathable blankets that will not overheat your baby.
- Wearable blankets or sleep sacks – The safest option that replaces loose blankets.
- Crib sheets – Fitted sheets prevent loose bedding hazards.
Not Allowed in Crib
- No heavy, fluffy blankets – Avoid quilts, duvets, sheepskins and thick blankets of any kind.
- No loose bedding – Don’t use loose sheets, pillows, bumper pads or stuffed toys.
- Nothing above your baby’s chest – Only use thin blankets below shoulder level. Never cover your baby’s head or face.
- No blankets under 4 months – Younger infants can’t move bedding away from their face. Use wearable blankets or sleepers instead.
- Make sure the blanket doesn’t bunch up around your baby’s face. Tuck it around the crib mattress to keep it in place.
- Dress your baby warmly in sleepwear appropriate for the room temperature instead of over-layering blankets.
- Stop using loose blankets once your baby can push up on their hands and knees to avoid entanglement.
- Remove any loose blankets before laying your baby down for sleep.
- Only use breathable, lightweight blankets. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your baby.
Maintaining Safe Sleep Practices
Aside from safe blanket use, always follow these practices to reduce the risk of SIDS:
- Place your baby on their back to sleep, not on their side or stomach.
- Use a firm, flat crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet. Don’t use pillows, cushions or additional mattress padding.
- Do not allow any toys, crib bumpers, or loose bedding in the crib.
- Set the room temperature to 68-72°F – avoid overheating.
- Use a wearable blanket or sleep sack to keep your baby warm instead of loose blankets.
- Do not co-sleep in the same bed as your baby. Return them to their crib when you’re ready to sleep.
- Sleep in the same room as your baby for at least the first 6 months, preferably for the first year.
- Do not use wedges, positioners or any products claiming to reduce the risk of SIDS. They are unsafe.
Using blankets in the crib can be safe when you follow recommendations on blanket types, warmth and preventing loose bedding hazards. Always put your baby to sleep on their back without any pillows or toys to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Prioritize your baby’s safety by maintaining a clear crib and safe sleep environment. With these precautions, your baby can sleep safely and comfortably.