Stunning duvets and bedding sets for children are everywhere on the market, so asking ‘when can babies have a duvet’ is a common query many parents share. According to the official NHS guidelines, parents shouldn’t give their babies pillows or duvets if they are under the age of 12 months old. Most experts, in fact, agree that it’s best to wait until your little one is 2 years old before you offer them pillows and duvets.
Why babies under 1 should not have a duvet.
If you’re asking when can babies have a duvet because you have been given a gorgeous set, or you want to make your baby’s nursery look more put-together, I know how tempting it can be to lay one down in baby’s cot. However, due to the dangers that are associated with duvets, it’s best to wait a little while longer before putting your baby to bed with a duvet.
Putting your baby down for bedtime or for a nap with a duvet can result in a variety of fatal situations, including:
- A duvet covering your baby’s face, resulting in suffocation.
- Babies attempting to suckle or eat a duvet and other bedding.
- Babies becoming wrapped up in a duvet and being unable to free themselves.
- Duvets can cause your baby to overheat.
Let’s take a look at each of these safety concerns in turn.
A duvet covering a baby’s face can result in suffocation.
A vital point to remember when questioning, ‘when can babies have a duvet?’ is that babies have not yet developed the gross motor skills and muscular strength to remove a duvet if it covers their face. If a baby’s face does become covered, it could result in suffocation.
It’s also worth noting that babies are not in complete control of their bodies and, as a result, they could make the situation worse during a panicked attempt to free themselves from being covered.
Babies attempting to suckle or eat a duvet and other bedding.
Another safety concern attributed to the question ‘when can babies have a duvet?’ is suffocation or choking due to suckling. Babies may wiggle into a position where they’re able to access the duvet’s fabric and begin suckling or trying to eat it. In this scenario, it’s possible for the fabric to become lodged in a baby’s throat, leading to suffocation or choking. Again, babies do not have the motor functions necessary to remove this fabric themselves, which means having additional fabrics in their cot, such as duvets, pillows, or toys, can be extremely hazardous.
Babies do not possess the physical strength or coordination to unwrap themselves if they get tangled.
When considering when can babies have a duvet, it’s a good idea to think about the level of physical strength your baby has. Can they control their movements? Are they able to physically untangle themselves? Will they be able to remove a duvet if it covers their face? If the answer is no to these questions, you should avoid giving your baby a duvet or pillow. Babies typically do not possess the coordination needed to unwrap themselves, therefore they should be avoided, along with heavy blankets made from thick material.
Duvets can cause your baby to overheat.
The purpose of a duvet is to add warmth when sleeping. It may seem like a necessary addition to a baby’s bed, however, babies are unable to regulate their own temperature. This means having a duvet covering them whilst they sleep could lead to babies becoming too hot and overheating, resulting in hyperthermia.
How to ensure a safe, comfortable night’s sleep for your baby.
Instead of asking ‘when can babies have a duvet’ in the first few years of your child’s life, ask yourself ‘how do I ensure my baby has a safe, comfortable place to sleep?’.
There are several important guidelines that the NHS lists on their website that are in place to keep babies safe whilst they sleep. For example, babies should always sleep on their back with their feet to the foot of their cot – this ensures that they cannot travel down the cot and become smothered by blankets or bedding. Additionally, your baby’s cot should be kept free from bumpers, pillows, and soft toys.
Instead of using blankets or duvets, consider purchasing a baby sleeping bag for your child. Baby sleeping bags are a good idea as they prevent your baby from wiggling beneath a duvet or blanket, resulting in their face becoming covered. Sleeping bags for babies are made in plenty of sizes to fit your child and also come in different togs so that you can always ensure you’re able to control your baby’s temperature.
How to choose the right duvet for your toddler.
Once your baby is a toddler, or over the age of 2, you can start looking for duvets and pillows to suit your child’s needs. There are plenty of options available, so here are some of the most important things to consider when choosing the right duvet:
- Material. Many parents opt for natural fibres such as cotton as some mixed fabrics can cause allergic reactions. When searching for a new duvet, always look for hypoallergenic brands.
- Tog size. Consider the tog size of the duvet you’re looking at before purchasing one for your child. In the summer, your child may be more comfortable with a smaller tog size, whereas, in winter, a higher tog number will help to keep them warm at night.
- Texture. Look for soft, high-quality duvets when choosing one for your toddler. Heavy or rough duvets can be uncomfortable and your child may not want to sleep with them. Luckily, many duvets designed for children are soft and gentle on the skin.
- Washability. Let’s face it, you’re going to want to look for a duvet that has great washability. It’s advisable to look for a duvet that can be machine washed at home as babies and toddlers are inevitably going to make a bit of a mess.
When considering a pillow, avoid purchasing one that’s too big as this can help to decrease the risk of suffocation. It’s also advisable to opt for a firm pillow as these offer the best support for still-developing necks.
When can babies have a duvet?
Wanting to know when can babies have a duvet is common, especially as many new parents want to start making their baby’s cot and room look appealing as soon as possible. However, there are a lot of health concerns that parents should be aware of before giving their baby a duvet.
Due to this, it’s best to wait until your baby is around 2 years old to ensure that they are safely able to remove a duvet if it covers their face, and also so that they can unwrap themselves if they become tangled. Remember that, along with duvets, parents should also avoid adding pillows and soft toys to the baby’s bed, as these too can result in suffocation.