Although the precise age a child can safely use a pillow when sleeping varies, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents remove the baby pillow and blankets from cribs until they are two years old. The primary reason this threshold has been established by professionals in the medical community involves Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
The presence of a baby pillow or other soft items that could cover a newborn’s breathing pathways heightens potential suffocation. The American Academy of Pediatrics also urges parents to take other preventative measures. These typically include vetting clothing items to make sure they fit properly and won’t restrict breathing or impact a baby’s circulation. SIDS is considered a prevalent risk in children until they reach 12 months old. From one to two years old, the term sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC) applies.
Children between 1 and 2 years old may appear to not have the physical strength to roll over and prevent themselves from suffocation. However, the National Institute of Health indicates that 1-1.2 toddlers per 100,000 perish from SUDC annually. Although that figure remains lower than the 38.7 deaths per 100,000 from SIDS, precautions are strongly suggested. By keeping a baby pillow and blankets away from sleeping spaces, the risk of SIDS and SUDC may be reduced by as much as 80 percent. A baby pillow may be a viable way to provide had comfort only when a child is awake and or monitored by an adult when napping.