Baby bedding sets–what is safe for sleep and what is not
Now that your baby is here, you want the absolute best for them - especially when it comes to their safety. Putting your baby down for a nap or for the night is easier when they have baby bedding sets that are comfortable and safe. Here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind when either filling out your registry in preparation for your new arrival or shopping for new bedding to accommodate their growing bodies.
The right crib and mattress
It’s always a good idea to make sure that the crib you buy meets all the modern crib safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). While a hand-me-down is a more affordable option, there are some things you should check before using an older crib:
- Use a lead test kit to check an antique bed for lead paint.
- Never use a crib that has missing parts or is broken.
- Do not use a crib where the headboard or footboard has decorative cutouts. These can trap your baby’s head or limbs.
- Ensure that the crib posts are flush with the end panels so your baby’s clothing doesn’t catch on the corners and potentially cause strangulation.
- Make sure that the bars of the crib are not spaced too far apart - a good rule of thumb is 2 ⅜”.
- Measure the top of the rail so that the top of the mattress is 26 inches below the top of the rail, and will allow you to lower the mattress over time as your baby gets taller and more mobile.
Your baby’s mattress should firm and shouldn’t sag when your baby is laying on it. The mattress should also fit the crib so no space is between the crib bars and the mattress. A good indicator of how a mattress should fit is that you shouldn’t be able to fit two fingers between the side of the crib and the mattress.
Baby bedding sets
For the first few months of your baby’s life, you shouldn’t use blankets, pillows, or any other padding aside from the waterproof mattress pad. You can cover the mattress and mattress pad with a fitted sheet for your baby’s comfort. We recommend getting a mattress pad that has a flannel backing since it’s more comfortable than rubber or plastic covers.
The fitted sheet that you cover the mattress in should be made of cotton, but in the colder winter months, you can use one made of flannel for warmth.
It might be tempting to give your new baby cozy blankets, they can pose as a suffocation hazard and have been linked to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). The CPSC, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the National Institutes of Child Health (NICHD) all recommend that no pillows, quilts, comforters, stuffed toys, or other soft objects be in your baby’s crib. It’s also recommended that you don’t give your child a pillow until they’re older than 2 and have transitioned to a toddler bed. If you’re concerned about keeping your baby warm, use sleeper sacks or pajamas that have feet.
In addition to not having pillows, quilts, comforters, stuffed toys, and blankets in your baby’s crib, you should also be wary about infant cushions with soft fabric coverings or are filled with plastic foam pellets or beads.
While bumpers are made for cribs, they should not be used. Having bumpers in the crib can put your baby at risk of strangulation, suffocation, or entrapment. When your baby starts to become more mobile, having a crib bumper can make it easier for them to climb out of their crib as well.
Cribs that have drop rails can be especially dangerous because your baby can fall out of the crib if there’s a malfunction with the latch or it wasn’t secured properly and the drop rail lowers. There is also a risk of your baby getting their head stuck between the side rails and the mattress and it could lead to suffocation.
There are many support devices on the market that aren’t necessary for your baby. For example, rolled blankets and foam supports that are used to keep your baby on their back or keep their head elevated are not necessary.
How your baby sleeps is just as important and what surrounds them while they sleep. Until your baby is 1 year of age, you should put them to sleep on their backs for bedtime and naptime. When your baby starts rolling and can roll from their back to their stomach, you can leave them in the position if they’re strong enough to roll back. If you swaddle your baby to calm them when they’re falling asleep, you should cease swaddling when they start to roll on their own.
If you put your baby in a car seat, swing, or another mobile carrier, you should move them to a firm mattress as soon as possible.
If possible, you should keep your baby in the same room as you while they’re sleeping for at least the first 6 months, or ideally, your baby’s first year. Room sharing has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50% and can make it easier for you to comfort, feed, and keep an eye on your baby.
It is not recommended to share your bed with your baby, and it’s even more dangerous if:
- Your baby is younger than 4 months
- Your baby was born with low birth weight or prematurely
- You or your partner is a smoker
- The mother smoked during pregnancy
- You’ve taken medications that could make it difficult for you to wake up
- You drank alcohol
- The surface that you’re sleeping on is soft, like a waterbed, an old mattress, couch, or recliner
- There are pillows, blankets, and other soft bedding on the bed
You can, however, bring your baby into your bed for feeding or to comfort them.
Pacifiers are great to give to a baby to soothe them to sleep and will usually fall out once the baby is asleep.There’s a lot to try to remember when keeping your baby safe, but following these guidelines on safe baby bedding sets can help keep your baby safe and happy for the first few years of their life.