When Is It Safe to Give Your Child a Pillow?

When Is It Safe to Give Your Child a Pillow?

DTC Thrasio

A good night’s sleep can sometimes seem like a mythical entity, but when it comes to making your dreams – literally – a reality, the right bed accessories can make a world of difference.

When we talk about newborns and young children, it’s usually the parents’ sleep that we think about. Babies crying in the middle of the night, toddlers crawling into mom’s bed at early hours of the morning, and the general stress of being a new parent that makes it difficult to get rest. But, it’s not just parents that need good sleep – kids need to develop healthy sleep habits too!

As an adult, you’ve probably seen a million pieces of advice on how to sleep better. These can work for some of us, but not for others. When it comes to babies and toddlers, it can be even more complicated. As a young parent, it can seem like dangers are lurking from all around. One major concern? Pillows. When is the right time to give your child a pillow? Is it safe for kids to have pillows? What kind of pillow should I get for my toddler?

These are just some of the questions you might have about getting the right bed accessories for your little one. Luckily, Snuggle-Pedic has got your back, and we’re here to lay out all the facts.

Why Pillows Can Be Hazardous for Your Baby

For adults, picking out the perfect pillow is about comfort, support, and breathability. For an infant, it’s mostly about safety.

When your baby is helpless and dependent, you want to make her feel as comfortable as possible so that she can have a perfect night’s sleep. You may be thinking about putting a few pillows in the crib, just to make it cozier. However, you must remember that what’s good for us grown ups might not be suitable for infants.

Anything extra in the crib could potentially put your child in danger of asphyxiation or suffocating. Babies lack neck and head mobility and are not capable of moving on their own if anything hampers their breathing. If a blanket, stuffed toy, or a pillow were to block the baby’s mouth or nostrils, she or he could suffocate during sleep.

While some parenting guides suggest that bed sharing with parents can lower the risk of suffocation for an infant because babies sleep lighter when sharing a bed (and because parents are there in case of emergency), there is still the danger of comforters, pillows, blankets, and the like blocking your baby’s breathing. There is also the risk of rolling over onto the baby and smothering them. If you are considering bed sharing with your infant, make sure to do thorough research in advance.

3 Tips to Keep Your Sleeping Baby Safe and Comfortable

While your little one is still in the crib, here are some guidelines that will help you keep her safe.

  1. Don’t use infant sleep positioners. Sleep positioners are intended to keep a baby under six months in a single position during sleep. The products are pillow-like, usually called ‘’bolsters,’’ ‘’anti-rolls,’’ or ‘’nests.’’ Using this type of product to hold an infant on their side or back is dangerous, and the FDA advises against it.
  2. Keep cribs and sleeping areas bare. That means you should never put soft objects or toys in sleeping areas. If you can keep your baby warm enough with clothes, opt for no blanket. You do not want your baby to overheat, not do you want them to get tangled up in any unnecessary sheets, blankets, or coverings.
  3. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) has been linked to infants sleeping on their stomach, so it is important to make sure that your baby is laid on her back at night and during naptime. An easy way to remember this is to follow the ABCs of safe sleep: “Alone on the Back in a bare Crib."

Remember that a bare crib means no pillows, loose sheets, comforters, quilts, or blankets. What may seem comforting and cozy to us can put a baby in danger of suffocating.

Baby sleeping safe and comfortable in a crib

From Crib to Bed: Is It Time for a Pillow?

Your kid has grown enough to transition from crib to bed, and this is a huge step. As you start to prepare your child to move to their new and improved bed, you might begin to look at bed accessories like a pillow – but have you ever wondered if your kid would even need it? Just because there’s a pillowcase in the lining set doesn’t mean your kid needs it.

If your little one is sleeping comfortably, then you don’t have to rush to introduce a pillow. Some kids can be as young as two years old when they need the added support of a pillow, while others might need it at 7 or 9. It’s essential to watch your kid’s sleeping habits. The quality of sleep, and behavior will determine whether they need a pillow or not. If your kid is improvising a pad with her stuffed toy under her head, it’s a sure sign she wants a pillow.

Some children will refuse a pillow or won’t show any sign of needing one. Know that this is fine! You can keep trying to introduce them to a pillow, but don’t stress over it.

Choosing the Best Pillow for Your Kid

Now the assessment phase is over and your toddler is ready for a pillow. It’s not a good idea to throw in an extra pillow you’ve got lying around on the sofa or your king-sized bed. Get acquainted with all sorts of pillows for kids. Finding what works will take some trial and error, but putting in the extra effort will pay off.

Here are some pointers:

The pillow you choose needs to be the appropriate size, not the regular one for adults. Make sure you’re selecting the one specifically made for kids, like this one from Snuggle-Pedic. Kids need adequate support for their neck and head that are still developing.

The pillow should provide support and comfort without being too big or fluffy. Your kid shouldn’t get lost in the pillow.

There are a lot of choices when it comes to filler materials. From feathers, buckwheat, fiberfill to memory foam. Feathers aren’t a good choice because they are too soft and can cause allergies. Natural materials, like bamboo, are a much better option.

The brand that you choose has to be free from any heavy toxic metals, formaldehyde, or phthalates.

You need to keep the pillow and the pillowcase clean. Find a pillow that is machine washable. Pay special attention to this if you have a child who is prone to allergies or has sensitive skin.

Young child sleeping safely and comfortably using a pillow.

You know how and when to choose what’s best for your kid. Remember, when it comes to pillows for your little one, there’s no need to rush it. Everything under the age of two can pose a threat. When you decide to search, be sure to have a look at Snuggle-Pedic.

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