crib safety

Babies should not use a pillow until they move to a toddler bed. This is usually between 18 months and 3 1/2 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against pillows for babies under 1 year. This is because of the big risks of suffocation, strangling, and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Pillows and soft items are not safe for baby sleeping. Babies sleep safest on a hard, flat surface with just a fitted sheet. Mobiles are okay above the crib for newborns but should be taken down when the baby can move more. In the U.S., crib bumpers are banned because they are very risky.

Key Takeaways

  • Pillows pose significant risks, including suffocation and SIDS.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against pillows for infants under 1 year old.
  • Wait until the transition to a toddler bed, between 18 months and 3 1/2 years, to introduce a pillow.
  • Choose a small, firm pillow for toddlers rather than an adult-sized one.
  • Remove crib mobiles once the baby begins to get on hands and knees.
  • Crib bumpers have been banned in the U.S. for baby sleep safety.

Why It’s Not Safe to Use Pillows for Babies

Keeping crib safety in mind is key to stop risks like suffocation. It also prevents sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Using pillows for babies goes against infant sleep guidelines.

Risks Associated with Pillows in Cribs

Pillows can block a baby’s airway, which might cause suffocation. Their softness can also lead to overheating. This raises SIDS risks. Instead, use a firm mattress with a tight sheet for infant bedding.

American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns not to use pillows in cribs for babies under one. Soft bedding poses big dangers. This goes against pediatric sleep recommendations.

Even over one year, wait before adding pillows until they use a toddler bed. This prevents climbing and falling. Crib mobiles are okay at first but remove them by 4-5 months. The Safe Sleep for Babies Act also says no to crib bumpers.

For a toddler’s pillow, pick one that’s flat, firm, and small. It should fit their size well. This choice helps support them properly and avoids dangers that big pillows bring.

When Can Babies Sleep with a Pillow

Figuring out the best time for your kid to start using a pillow matters a lot. It helps with their growth and keeps them safe. Experts recommend waiting until your child is over 2 years old, even though SIDS risks drop after the first year.

Developmental Considerations

Linking toddler growth to pillow safety is key. As toddlers grow quickly, their necks and spines are still forming. A pillow too soon could mess with this growth. So, choosing a firm, yet thin pillow helps support them safely.

Transitioning to a Toddler Bed

Moving to a toddler bed is a big step in sleep changes. This usually happens between 18 months and 3 ½ years. It’s a good time to start thinking about a pillow. Picking the right pillow is vital as toddlers’ sleep spots change. You need to keep toddler bed tips in mind.

pillow readiness

Signs Your Child is Ready for a Pillow

Watch your kid’s actions to see if they’re ready for a pillow. If they rest their head on toys or blankets, they might be ready. Letting them choose when to use a pillow means they’re really ready.

Choose pillows that are hypoallergenic and not treated with chemicals. This lowers the chance of allergies, keeping your kid safe and comfy. Making sure the pillow fits your child’s needs helps them sleep better and stay healthy.

Choosing the Right Pillow for Toddlers

When picking a pillow for toddlers, think safety and comfort first. A good toddler pillow is small and firm. This helps support a child’s head and neck as they grow. Also, choose pillows that are hypoallergenic to lower allergy risks.

Only give a toddler a pillow after they move to a toddler bed, after age two. Don’t use adult pillows as they can be risky. Pediatric-approved pillows are the right size and give neck support.

Also, look at the pillowcases. They need to be breathable and match what your child likes. Pick ones that are easy to wash. Fun themes can make bedtime more exciting. Following these tips helps make sleeping safe and comfy for kids.


When can babies sleep with a pillow?

Babies can use a pillow after they start sleeping in a toddler bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises using a firm, flat surface for babies under 1. This helps prevent suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

What are the risks associated with pillows in cribs?

Pillows in cribs can cause suffocation, strangulation, and raise the SIDS risk. They can block a baby’s breath or make them too hot. These issues can lead to severe health problems or even death.

What are the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations regarding pillows?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against pillows in infants’ cribs. They suggest a firm surface with only a fitted sheet. This is best until your child is over 1 year old and moves to a toddler bed.

What developmental considerations should I keep in mind?

Consider your child’s growth stage before adding a pillow. You can introduce a pillow when they move to a toddler bed. This is usually between 18 months and 3 1/2 years. It helps avoid suffocation and supports their developing neck and spine.

How should I transition my child to a toddler bed?

Move your child to a toddler bed between 18 months and 3 1/2 years old. Then, a small, firm pillow is okay to use. Make sure the bed has guardrails and the sleep area is free of clutter for safety.

What signs indicate that my child is ready for a pillow?

If your child starts using blankets or toys as headrests, they might be ready for a pillow. This usually happens around 2 years old, after moving to a toddler bed. Watch for these natural hints to introduce a pillow.

How do I choose the right pillow for my toddler?

Choose a small, firm pillow for your toddler. Pick hypoallergenic and untreated materials to avoid allergies. Avoid adult pillows. Instead, select a pediatric-approved toddler pillow.

Why are hypoallergenic pillows recommended for toddlers?

Hypoallergenic pillows help lower the risk of allergies for toddlers. They protect against dust mites, mold, and bacteria. This can improve sleep and health.

What are the benefits of a firm pillow for toddlers?

Firm pillows offer better neck support for toddlers. Their muscles and spines are still maturing. Firm pillows also lower the risk of suffocation, making them safer for little ones.

What is the appropriate pillow size for toddlers?

A toddler pillow should be small, about 12 by 16 inches. This size fits their bodies well and supports them without suffocation risks. Look for firm, flat pillows made just for toddlers.

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