When settling a baby, it’s important to do what we can to make sure the blanket doesn’t impede baby in any way. By having the blanket tucked in under the mattress and under baby’s arms and by placing baby’s feet at the bottom of the bed, we can minimise the risks of baby wriggling underneath the covers. If a baby is placed to sleep at the head end of their sleep space, as you may naturally think, they have the length of the cot to wriggle underneath bedding.
If using a blanket, it is best to use natural materials such as cotton as they are more breathable and will allow baby to lose heat as and when they need to cool down. A cellular cotton blanket is an ideal choice. They allow baby to keep warm but enable air flow and should baby end up in the situation of the blanket covering their face, the blanket by design has holes for air to flow. Fleece bedding and sheepskins are not recommended as they can cause baby to overheat.
Also, be aware of how many times you fold the blanket – if you fold it over this will count as two blankets. See Temperature
Sleeping bags designed for infant sleep may also be used, which then negates the need for any blanket tucked in. Sleeping bags are more expensive and it is important to use the correct size for your baby – you will need to change the sleeping bag as your baby grows and may need to change to a different tog rating depending on the temperature fluctuations in the room where baby sleeps through the change of seasons.
Some parents may prefer not to use any bedding and dress their baby for bed using an additional layer of clothing on their body such as a thicker vest.
Regardless of the layer on top of baby, the bottom sheet upon which they lie should fit the mattress and be well tucked in to prevent this becoming loose.
Evidence For Our Safe Bedding Messages
Many babies who die from SUDI are found on their back but with loose bedding covering their face.
In many accidental suffocation deaths, soft and /or loose bedding is a contributing factor.
Quilts, duvets, and pillows have been associated with an increased risk in SIDS. A study suggested the risk was 2.5 times when bedding covering an infant’s head*