Parents of newborn babies want to provide the very best in safety and comfort for their new family members. It is with the best of intentions that many tragedies have occurred in babies under 18 months of age. A common question that is asked is should my baby sleep on a pillow?
The answer is very clear and without exception, no, you should not allow your baby to sleep on a pillow.
Differences between sleeping adults and babies
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Adults routinely use pillows when sleeping. They provide support for the head and neck and are associated with comfort during rest. While this is fine for people who have greater control of their bodies, it isn’t recommended for babies under 18 months of age. This is because the majority of them don’t have the physical strength or awareness to reposition their bodies. This makes them subject to suffocation if they end up face down on a pillow. There are ways to make your baby comfortable during sleep without using pillows until they are of old enough to have the physical strength, and awareness needed to turn their bodies as needed.
Dangers of using a pillow for baby
Investigators have discovered that almost half of infant crib deaths and a greater number of bassinet deaths reported were because of suffocation. Thick quilts and pillows were the culprits. This is true for stuffed animals as well. Anything that has the potential for blocking a baby’s nose and mouth should be considered a hazard. This is why it is recommended that babies be placed in a bare crib or sleeping environment, placed on their backs with a firm, flat mattress that fits tightly into the crib. No pillows should be used for baby until the child is a minimum of 18 months of age.
Pillow like objects
Some parents use a cushioned baby positioner to help provide comfort and keep their babies positioned in the crib or bassinette for sleep time. These are not recommended because there have been many instances of babies turning themselves into positions that compromise their airways. The cushioning can become a hazard for young babies. The same is true for thick quilts and blankets. The reason why there are so many baby blankets that are made of lightweight and breathable fabrics is because of increasing awareness of the hazards of using thick or heavy bedding for young babies.
How can I make sure that my baby is comfortable?
Keeping your baby safe and comfortable are top priorities. The best way to do this is to start with a firm mattress that fits tightly into the crib. You can use a soft fitted baby mattress sheet. Place your baby on his or her back in the center of the crib or bassinette. If you are concerned about baby getting cold, dress your baby a little warmer and use a light baby blanket over the top but keep the blanket away from baby’s face.
Final thoughts on baby pillows
You can easily find pillows that are made for babies available for sale. There are parents who will continue to use pillows to cushion and stop babies from rolling off of surfaces when a crib or bassinette is not available. If you are in a position that calls for using pillows, the only way to do so safely is to make sure that there is always a person near the baby, watching out to make sure that the baby does not move into a dangerous position near the pillow. Whenever possible, keep all hazardous materials away from baby, especially if there will be periods of time when you are not able to keep a constant eye on your child.