With the wealth of cute, cuddly baby blankets on the market, it can be difficult not to put one on your sleeping baby. But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parents not to put any pillows, quilts, comforters, or other soft or loose bedding in their infants' sleep areas as a precaution against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
While the risk of SIDS decreases as your baby gets older, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that the majority of sleep-related infant deaths it has data on have been attributable to suffocation involving pillows, quilts, and extra bedding.
"Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, and other soft surfaces are hazardous when placed under the infant or left loose in the infant's sleep area and can increase SIDS risk up to fivefold independent of sleep position," the AAP explains.
Although there isn't any research that indicates when it's 100 percent safe to have such objects in your child's bed, AAP guidelines suggest waiting until your child is 1 to 1-and-a-half years old before introducing pillows and blankets (until then, the AAP suggests seeking safe alternatives to blankets such as sleepers, sleep sacks, and wearable blankets). Consequently, deciding when to give your child a blanket can be done in consultation with your child's pediatrician.
A typical time when parents seek their pediatrician's approval to give a child a blanket is once the baby can roll over unassisted and smoothly, in both directions. Also, if they have good head control. In addition to being able to roll over, another clue that your baby could be ready for a blanket is when they can move the blanket off their face themselves. But ultimately, the right time to give your child a blanket is a decision only you can make based on the information you have been given by your child's pediatrician and the current AAP guidelines.