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Are Afghan Blankets Dangerous for Babies?

by
author image Eliza Martinez
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.
Are Afghan Blankets Dangerous for Babies?
The AAP states not to use afghans or any type of blanket in your baby's crib. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

It can be difficult to resist the lure of those adorable blankets in your baby's crib. With so many cute, fluffy blankets on the market, it can be difficult to forego a blanket in your newborn's crib. The American Academy of Pediatrics tells parents not use any type of blanket in a baby's crib, including afghans, for safety reasons.

Guidelines

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that parents should not put anything soft in their baby's crib. This includes ant type of blanket, pillow, crib bumpers and any stuffed animals. These items can cover a baby's face and restrict breathing. Sometimes, babies roll up against a soft object, and babies cannot roll over until about 4 months of age. The AAP recommends against using blankets as a way to help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. Afghans, which are knitted or crocheted, are among the items not recommended for your baby's crib.

Baby's Age

Laura Reno, the vice president of public affairs for the First Candle/SIDS Alliance, states it's never safe to put a blanket in the crib with your child, even after she turns one and the risk of SIDS decreases. Instead, Reno advises waiting to use a blanket until your baby moves into a toddler bed. However, an afghan is a perfectly safe choice for spreading on the ground when you play with your baby. Lay her on her tummy on an afghan and let her feel the nubby fabric with her fingers or let her rest on her back and show her toys or books.

Wrapping Your Baby

Many pediatricians recommend swaddling your baby when she's little because the sensation emulates the tight quarters in the womb. It can often comfort and soothe a baby who's having trouble sleeping. The Women's and Children's Health Network suggests using thin, cotton or muslin blankets for swaddling. Heavier fabrics, such as the yarn used to make afghans, can restrict movement and prevent chest expansion, which isn't safe for a sleeping baby. Once your baby can loosen her swaddle and move out of the swaddling, it is safer to stop wrapping her and choose an alternative to the blanket.

Alternatives

You don't have to pack away those beautiful handmade afghans until your baby is older, but they shouldn't be used for sleeping. Use it cover your baby when she's in your arms or when you're comforting her during a bout of crying, but put it aside when she's sleeping in the crib. Instead, put your baby in a wearable blanket, which has arms like a pair of pajamas, but keeps her warm with plenty of space to move her legs. In addition, the AAP recommends you use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted crib sheet, and always put your baby on her back for sleeping, never on her tummy or side.

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