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When Can Babies Have Blankets

Blankets are often associated with comfort, warmth, and coziness, making them an appealing addition to a baby's sleep environment. However, ensuring the safety of your baby is paramount, and the question of when babies can safely have blankets is important to address. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the developmental stages, guidelines, and precautions to consider before introducing blankets to your baby's sleep routine.

The first year of a baby's life is marked by incredible growth and development, including the gradual transition from swaddles to blankets for sleep. While blankets can offer comfort and warmth, safety remains the top priority. Understanding the guidelines and precautions for introducing blankets during this critical period is essential to ensure your baby's well-being. Here's a comprehensive guide on practicing safety during the first year when babies have blankets:

Newborn Stage: Avoid Blankets for Safe Sleep

Safe Sleep Environment: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends creating a safe sleep environment for newborns. This includes placing babies on their backs on a firm, flat sleep surface without any loose bedding.

No Loose Items: Avoid using blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or bumper pads in the crib during the newborn stage. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards.

Sleep Sacks and Swaddles: For warmth and comfort, consider using sleep sacks or swaddle blankets that are designed to secure around your baby without posing risks.

Overheating Risk: Babies are more sensitive to temperature changes, and overheating can be dangerous. Using blankets, especially heavy ones, can cause a baby to become too hot, increasing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Around 6 Months: Gradual Transition

Developmental Milestones: Around six months, many babies start rolling over independently and developing better motor skills. These milestones signal that your baby is becoming more capable of adjusting their position during sleep.

Introduce Light Layers: As your baby's ability to move improves, consider introducing light layers like sleep sacks or wearable blankets. These alternatives provide warmth without the risk of suffocation.

Around 12 Months: Gradually Introducing Blankets

Motor Skills Development: By their first birthday, most babies have developed the strength and coordination to push away objects that might obstruct their breathing.

Appropriate Size: When introducing blankets, ensure they are appropriately sized for the crib or sleep space. A well-fitting blanket covers your baby from the chest down, leaving the head and face uncovered.

Securely Tucked: Always tuck the blanket securely around the crib mattress, and ensure it's positioned no higher than your baby's chest.

Feet-to-Foot Positioning: Place your baby in the crib with their feet at the foot of the crib to prevent them from sliding under the blanket.

Temperature Regulation: Use lightweight and breathable blankets made from natural materials to prevent overheating.

Regular Monitoring: Continuously monitor your baby to ensure they are comfortable and the blanket remains securely in place.

Prioritizing Safety Throughout the First Year

During the first year of your baby's life, safety is paramount. While the appeal of introducing blankets is understandable, adhering to guidelines ensures that you provide a safe sleep environment. Wait until your baby reaches appropriate developmental milestones, and consider alternatives like sleep sacks or swaddle blankets in the early stages. As your baby grows and gains more control over their movements, you can gradually introduce appropriately sized blankets, always prioritizing their safety and well-being. Consult with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns regarding the introduction of blankets during your baby's first year.

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Introducing Light Layers:

Swaddle Blankets: Swaddling with purpose-designed blankets can provide a sense of security for babies who are not yet able to roll over. Swaddle blankets are designed to prevent loose fabric from covering the face.

Sleep Sacks: Sleep sacks, also known as wearable blankets, are safer alternatives to loose blankets. They allow for warmth without the risk of suffocation.

One Year and Beyond: Gradual Introduction

Around the one-year mark, many babies have developed the necessary motor skills and strength to move and reposition themselves in their sleep. This is when you can start considering the gradual introduction of blankets.

Guidelines for Safe Blanket Use:

Introducing blankets to a baby's sleep environment is a milestone that requires careful consideration and adherence to safety guidelines. While blankets can provide warmth and comfort, ensuring your baby's safety remains the top priority. Here are essential guidelines to follow when babies have blankets in their sleep space:

Age and Developmental Readiness:

Wait Until One Year: Experts recommend introducing blankets to your baby's sleep environment around their first birthday, when they have achieved developmental milestones such as rolling over and pushing objects away.

Opt for Lightweight and Breathable Fabrics:

Choose Natural Materials: Opt for blankets made from lightweight and breathable natural materials, such as cotton or muslin. These materials reduce the risk of overheating.

Proper Bedding Setup:

Crib Safety: Ensure that the crib meets current safety standards and that the mattress fits snugly in the crib frame. The mattress should be firm and flat.

Blanket Size and Placement:

Appropriate Size: Use a blanket that is appropriately sized for the crib or sleep area. It should cover the baby from the chest down and should not be able to cover the baby's face.

Secure Tucking:

Securely Tuck: When using a blanket, tuck it securely around the crib mattress, ensuring it cannot come loose or be easily pulled by the baby. Blankets should not be higher than the baby's chest.

Feet-to-Foot Positioning:

Positioning: Always place your baby in the crib with their feet at the foot of the crib. This prevents the baby from sliding under the blanket.

Avoid Loose Bedding:

No Loose Items: Avoid placing other loose bedding items, such as pillows, stuffed animals, or bumper pads, in the crib. These items can pose suffocation hazards.

Temperature Monitoring:

Maintain Comfort: Monitor the room temperature to ensure your baby is comfortable and appropriately dressed. Overheating is a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Regular Check-ins:

Frequent Monitoring: Regularly check on your baby to ensure that the blanket remains securely tucked and that the baby is comfortable.

Safe Sleep Practices:

Back to Sleep: Always place your baby on their back for sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Firm Sleep Surface: Use a firm and flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib.

Smoke-Free Environment: Ensure that the sleep environment is free from smoke exposure.

Follow Manufacturer Instructions:

Read Labels: If using sleep sacks or wearable blankets, carefully read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper use and sizing.

Parental Supervision:

Supervision: Supervise your baby during naptime and bedtime to ensure that the blanket remains safely positioned and does not become a hazard.


The decision of when to introduce blankets to your baby's sleep environment involves a careful balance between warmth, comfort, and safety. While blankets can provide a sense of security and coziness, it's crucial to prioritize your baby's safety, especially during their first year of life. Follow the AAP guidelines and recommendations to ensure that you create a safe sleep environment for your baby, minimizing the risk of sleep-related accidents. As your baby reaches developmental milestones and gains the ability to move and reposition themselves, you can gradually introduce blankets while maintaining a focus on safety and well-being.

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