Is it safe for my baby to sleep with a stuffed animal?
Sleeping with a favourite ‘blankie’ or stuffed animal is just one of those things we expect our kids to do because it's so adorable -- but is it always a good idea?
Remember your favourite stuffed toy that you just can’t get enough of? It could be a toy, blanket, or anything that gives you immense comfort. We call that a “Chou Chou”. And it has that unique smell or touch that only appeals to you. Growing up, at some point in time, we have all owned one. For mums and dads with infants, we share some infant safety issues you might like to consider if you’re thinking of letting your infant sleep with their favourite Chou Chou.
Why kids sleep with stuffed animals
Sleeping with a favourite stuffed animal, doll or blanket is nothing parents should be alarmed over. It brings security to a child. It helps them feel safe, not alone and it gives them something to look at, talk to or cling on to as they drift off to sleep.
Sleeping with a favourite stuffed animal isn’t going to cause problems with their orthodontia like prolonged use of a pacifier will and it certainly doesn’t make them weak. It’s just part of being a kid. The real question though is what other kinds of dangers can it pose when it comes to the safety of your infant?
Infant Safety: when is it okay?
One of the top questions parents ask when it comes to their children sleeping with a stuffed animal is when is it okay to let their baby sleep with a stuffed animal. ‘When should I allow my baby to start sleeping with their favourite toy?’ The answer typically given by paediatrician is 1 year to ensure your child’s safety.
One is the ‘magic number’ for sleeping with a stuffed animal and maintaining your infant’s safety because:
- When your baby reaches age 1, the danger of SIDS has passed
- Your baby is mobile enough to roll over and is capable of moving objects out of their way
Why it’s not okay before 1 year of age
Babies should not be allowed to sleep with anything other than the bare necessities (cotton blanket) before one year of age in order to prevent SIDS and death by suffocation. Thousands of babies die each year as a result of SIDS. Thousands more die as a result of suffocation due to becoming caught up in blankets, moving to a position that buries their face in stuffed toys, pillows or blankets and then are unable to move. It is better to avoid any stuffed animals during this time to ensure that they are kept safe.
Don’t force the issue
If you never put anything in the crib with your baby, they won’t know the possibility of doing so even exists. But by the time they are capable of thinking about the pleasures that come with snuggling with their best ‘buddy’ while going to sleep, the dangers of doing so won’t be present and it will be just fine.
Do you have more tips on infant safety? Please do share them with us by leaving a comment below!
For more tips on keeping your infant safe while sleeping, watch this video: