Understand When It’s Safe For Your Toddler Sleep with a Pillow
Keeping your forever-baby safe is always of utmost importance, regardless of how old they are. While the general recommendation for toddlers using pillows is two years of age (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics), this can vary depending on the source you rely on for a recommendation.
Most precautions and recommendations around safe sleep are driven by the motive to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). After the first year of your baby’s life the risk of SIDS occurring reduces greatly, but there is still risk. After the first year, you can start to introduce new sleeping arrangements as you see fit or as your child demands.
Your baby or toddler continually goes through change meaning you will need to continually revise their sleeping arrangement to keep them safe while ensuring bedtime and sleep time is smooth. Every baby develops at a slightly different pace, so use your judgment to determine when to add a pillow into the mix. If you have any concerns or are not sure, contact your pediatrician for advice.
When are pillows safe for toddlers?
It’s advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics that toddlers under the age of 2 should not sleep with a pillow. When it is time to let your toddler sleep with a pillow, opt for a pillow on the firm side if possible. Soft bedding (pillows too) can potentially cause suffocation. Additionally pillows with untreated material and hypoallergenic qualities are preferred, especially if your baby has sensitive skin. Toddlers that are still sleeping in a crib should not need a pillow, and it can be dangerous to give them one in a crib. There’s a potential for the pillow to get stuck in the crib wall. Pillows can also be used as an escape mechanism to help toddlers climb out of the crib.
Do toddlers sleep better with a pillow?
As a baby, your baby slept on a flat, firm surface most likely. Therefore, that is what they are used to. As your baby turns into a toddler, you may think they need a pillow. While some may prefer a pillow, they may be fine without one too. You know toddlers though, they want to be just like the adults they see around them. Pillows can help them sleep better, but ask your toddler for feedback as to how they are sleeping and notice their mood. Toddlers toss and turn a lot while they sleep. Finding ways to help them achieve maximum comfort and calmness for a restful night sleep is important. One way to promote a better night sleep, in addition to a pillow, is a Weighted Toddler Blanket. Just as weighted sleep products can help babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, it can help toddlers too. Our 4 lb weighted blanket is designed for children and toddlers ages 3+ and 30+ pounds. The gentle weight of the blanket provides deep pressure stimulation to help naturally reduce anxiety, alleviate sensory overload and promote healthy sleep patterns.
How do I introduce my toddler to a pillow?
Change can be hard to adapt to - even if it’s for the better! To introduce your toddler to a pillow, let them practice using it before it’s time to sleep. Showing them how to use it (model it) is also a great way to gain their buy in and understanding. When it’s time to sleep with the pillow, lay their head on the pillow and tuck them in. Ask if they are comfortable before hitting the lights and leaving. If your toddler does not love the pillow, embrace their preferences.
What should a toddler pillow be like?
Before purchasing a toddler pillow, you’ll want to choose one that is toddler-safe. Toddler pillows are usually smaller than a standard or queen size pillow, which can help you spot them, but there are other factors to consider too.
First pay attention to the material. Toddlers are sensitive to environmental allergens. Choosing a pillow that is hypoallergenic and designed to reduce the amount of bacteria accumulated can help keep your baby healthy. Consider the pillowcase too as it should be free of chemicals. A 100% organic cotton pillow case is a preferred choice.
Next, pay attention to the filling. Synthetic fiber filling or memory foam are top choices for toddlers.
Lastly, pay attention to the support. While you won’t want a super plush pillow, you also don’t want one that is too firm. This is confusing as you want the most comfortable pillow possible, and that doesn’t always equal a firm pillow in your head. The pillow should err on the side of firm, not fluffy. It should not flop around easily. Memory foam pillows can be a great choice as they shape the head, offering personalized comfort.
Should I give my toddler a pillow?
Toddlers under two are not recommended to sleep with a pillow. However, ultimately the decision is yours. You may decide to wait longer than two or you may decide to give a pillow sooner. Understand the risks and assess the developmental state and tendencies of your baby.
When it comes to safe sleep, Dreamland knows best. We also know how important a good night’s sleep is for your baby’s development as well as your sanity. As you do everything possible to keep your baby comfortable and well-rested, we hope you’ll let us help. Our collection of baby-approved and mama-created products include Weighted Sleep Sacks, Swaddles, Transitional Swaddles, Blankets, and Dream Crib Sheets. All of which are designed to promote better sleep and proven to work.
As you enter the toddler era, take advantage of the voice your baby now has. Ask them if they are comfortable. Let them choose the color of their new bed sheets. Encourage them to help you with things. When introducing a pillow, letting them help you put the pillow case on or make the bed can help them learn about the pillow and how it is used. Getting them excited to sleep with their new “big girl or boy pillow” can create positive associations and a willingness to lay their head on it for bed.