When can a toddler sleep with a blanket? If you’re wondering at what age you can introduce your little one to a blanket, you’re in luck - that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today.
When you become a parent, everything changes - and your life now revolves around keeping your little one happy, healthy, and safe. And while you want them to be nice and cozy wrapped up in a warm blanket, introducing a blanket too early is one of the most common causes of suffocation, entrapment, strangulation, and sudden infant death syndrome.
The good news? All of this can be avoided with careful crib planning and waiting until your child is old enough.
But, at what age can a toddler sleep with a blanket? While recommendations vary based on your child’s unique developmental journey, their sleep habits, and the type of blanket in question, it’s generally accepted that after 12-18 months you can introduce a blanket.
We’ll cover these factors in more detail below so you can get peace of mind. And, you’ll learn how to actually introduce your toddler to their first blanket - while gaining insights into other safe sleep tips so you both can sleep soundly. Let’s dive in!
Why Does it Matter What Age Your Toddler Sleeps With a Blanket?
Can a toddler sleep with a blanket? Even when you dress your child in zipper footie pajamas and make their crib with super soft crib sheets, you worry they’re going to be too cold. And at a certain age, yes - you can let them sleep with a blanket.
However, you shouldn’t rush to get a blanket in the crib until your toddler has good head control and can move around on their own. Because while that blanket will certainly warm up your baby, it can also lead to serious risks at young ages - as we described earlier.
For example, one of the primary risks associated with allowing a child to sleep with a blanket too early is the risk of suffocation. Young infants can’t move blankets away from their faces and can become trapped underneath them, causing them to suffocate. This risk is particularly high for infants who are swaddled, as the tight wrapping can make it difficult for them to move or turn their heads.
Another risk associated with early blanket use is choking. Infants and young children are at a higher risk of choking on small objects, and blankets can pose a significant risk if they become wrapped around a child's neck or mouth. This risk is especially high if the blanket has loose or dangling threads or other small embellishments that a child could put in their mouth.
Perhaps the most serious risk associated with early blanket use is the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This is a condition in which an otherwise healthy infant dies suddenly and unexpectedly during sleep, and we still don’t fully understand what causes this tragedy.
However, what we do know is that there are a few risk factors that contribute to this condition. These include toddlers sleeping on their stomachs, overheating, or sleeping with loose bedding.
We say all this not to scare you - trust us, we know you’ve got enough stress on your plate! It’s just important for parents to be aware of the risks at play. So, when can a toddler sleep with a blanket safely? Here’s what most experts suggest…
When Can a Toddler Sleep With a Blanket?
When to give toddler blankets is not something with a one-size-fits-all answer - although, there are general recommendations you can use as a guideline. However, it’s important to consider your unique child before introducing a blanket to the crib.
When it comes to a toddler sleeping with a blanket, there are several factors that parents should consider to determine when it is safe to introduce a blanket into their child's sleep routine. These include the child's age, developmental milestones, sleeping habits, and the type of blanket being used.
What Age Can a Toddler Sleep With a Blanket?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is not safe for infants under 1 year old to sleep with blankets or any other loose bedding - for the reasons we described above. But, that “one-year” recommendation is not one size fits all.
Consider Your Little One’s Unique Developmental Journey
You also need to consider their development. Before introducing the blanket, you need to ensure your child actually has the ability to move the blanket away from their face and that they understand how to adjust it if necessary. Some children may be ready for a blanket earlier than others, and parents should use their own judgment to determine when their child is ready.
Sleep Habits Play a Role in Recommendations, Too
It's also essential to consider the child's sleeping habits. If a child tends to move around a lot during sleep or is an active sleeper, parents may want to wait until the child is a bit older before introducing a blanket. This can help prevent the child from becoming tangled or trapped in the blanket while they sleep, which could increase the risk of suffocation.
Factor in the Blanket Itself
Finally, the type of blanket being used is also an important factor to consider when to give toddlers blankets. It's important to choose a thin, lightweight blanket that is not too bulky or heavy, as this can increase the risk of suffocation or overheating. Additionally, the blanket should be securely placed around the child, and parents should ensure that the child's face and head remain uncovered during sleep.
To help you really achieve peace of mind, we’ve developed a safe, comfortable toddler blanket and baby blanket collection for you at Caden Lane. And on that note, let’s address the do’s and don’ts of introducing your toddler to their first blanket.
How do You Introduce a Blanket to a Toddler?
So, you now know that recommendations vary for when a toddler can sleep with a blanket. But in general, toddlers can start sleeping with a blanket after their first year and once they’ve developed good control of their bodies. Now the question is - how do you introduce a blanket to a toddler? Step one - get the right blanket.
Get the Right Blanket
As we just mentioned, Caden Lane is your one-stop-shop for all things early parenthood - we’ve got you covered with nursery design, newborn accessories, and of course, blankets! Just take a look at our collection of blankets and see for yourself - you’ll fall in love with our designs.
But, it’s not just about designing a nursery you’re proud to show off. The materials are buttery soft to please even the fussiest newborn or toddler. And, these premium blankets are built to last - making perfect hand-me-downs to little brothers or sisters.
Whether you’re getting some tummy time, just keeping the baby warm in your arms, or you are ready to finally introduce them to their first crib blanket - you can count on Caden Lane to exceed your expectations! Check out some of our most popular styles - like our personalized newborn blanket, newborn swaddle blanket, baby milestone blanket.
Introduce the Blanket Gradually With Supervision
Begin by placing the blanket on top of the child while they are awake and supervised, so they can get used to the texture and weight of the blanket. This can help prevent the child from feeling overwhelmed or uncomfortable when they first start using the blanket during sleep.
You’ll get a sense pretty quickly as to whether or not your baby is ready for the blanket. If it gets draped over their face and they’re unable to move it, you’ll know that it’s not quite time. However, if you don’t see any red flags, then you can consider the possibility of adding it to their bedtime routine.
Check on Your Child Throughout the Night
The first few nights of letting your child sleep with a blanket are going to be stressful. You may even have trouble sleeping if your child is in their nursery unattended. So, get up and check on them regularly. Eventually, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing they’re safe and sound.
You may need to adjust the blanket if your child appears uncomfortable or is simply not sleeping well with the blanket. Consider the type of bedding being used and whether the blanket is too warm or agitates them. If you stick with Caden Lane, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Other Safe Sleep Tips for Toddlers
Before we bring this discussion to a close, we’re going to provide you with a few other safe sleep tips for toddlers to help you enjoy peace of mind and get some much-needed shut-eye yourself:
- Use a firm and flat sleep surface: Make sure that your child's sleep surface, whether it's a crib or a toddler bed, is firm and flat. This can help reduce the risk of suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Avoid soft or loose bedding: Soft bedding, such as blankets, nursery pillows, and stuffed animals, can pose a suffocation risk for young children. Avoid using any soft or loose bedding in your child's sleep area.
- Place your child on their back to sleep: Placing your child on their back to sleep can help reduce the risk of SIDS. Once your child is able to roll over on their own, you do not need to worry about keeping them on their back.
- Dress your child appropriately: Dress your child in light, comfortable clothing that is appropriate for the room temperature. Avoid overdressing your child, which can cause overheating. Our bamboo swaddler for newborns is a great choice for the first year. Then, you can consider our bamboo pajamas for kids as they age.
- Keep the sleep area free from hazards: Keep the sleep area free from any hazards, such as cords or strings, that could pose a strangulation risk.
- Maintain a comfortable room temperature: The room where your child sleeps should be at a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold. A comfortable temperature for most children is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 degrees Celsius). If you’re worried about your child being too cold but they’re not ready for a blanket, you can consider a bamboo sleep sack.
- Use a pacifier at bedtime: Using a pacifier at bedtime can help reduce the risk of SIDS. If your child refuses a pacifier, that is okay.
When Can a Toddler Sleep With a Blanket? Wrapping Things Up
So, when can a toddler sleep with a blanket? In summary, experts recommend waiting until at least their first birthday. And when that time comes, you should assess whether your child has developed enough to safely sleep with a blanket. If you’re still not certain the time is right, you can always consult your pediatrician - they know your little one’s health and development best!
When you determine it’s time to introduce your child to their first blanket at night, follow the tips we’ve provided above and you will both sleep peacefully. No need to worry about SIDS, suffocation, or any other crib-related tragedies any longer!