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Are Muslin Comforters Safe for Baby to Sleep With?

Posted by Arne de Vos on

“Are Aden + Anais muslin comforters safe to sleep with for our 5 month old son?”

We received this question from a customer during the week and thought we would delve into it a bit more in today’s blog post. So, are muslin comforters such as the Aden + Anais Issie Blankets or Musy Mate Lovey’s safe to sleep with?

The risks of sleeping with comforters

The risks obviously relate to cot death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs). Potential hazards include suffocation (either by the comforter lying across baby’s face or by baby rolling over onto any soft toy component and then not being strong enough to move), strangulation, choking and overheating. These are all obviously bad things and known causes of SIDs.

      Bamboo Musy Mate Lovey - Flower Child  Bamboo Musy Mate Lovey - Wild One

So are muslin comforters safe to sleep with?

Well it depends on the age of your baby. The risk of SIDs reduces significantly by 6 months of age when they are strong enough to move position or remove any hazard that may be giving them trouble breathing. The risk of SIDs is almost completely gone by baby’s first birthday.

So while products such as the Aden + Anais Issie Security Blanket and the Musy Mate Loveys are suitable from birth and completely baby safe, it is certainly recommended that no toys, or comforters are added to the cot while a baby under the age of 7 months sleeps. The exception to this of course are dummies / pacifiers which research shows can reduce the risk of SIDs if used consistently. Check out this article on rednose.com.au for more information on the use of dummies.

After the age of 7 months it’s a whole new story regarding sleeping with comforters. For babies that love them, they help sooth baby, ease separation anxiety, aid in self settling, and promote a better night sleep for both baby and the rest of the family. Muslin comforters are a great choice as they are lightweight and baby can easily breath through the fabric. So no overheating and significantly reduced risk of suffocation. Good quality muslin comforters and security blankets are rigorously tested, are sized so as to reduce the risk of strangulation and are made with no buttons or fittings that may come loose. They are also safe for baby if they decide to chew.

Of, course they are not for every baby. In controlled tests (i.e. with our 19 month old twins Emily and Logan) it was clearly seen that what one baby loves it not always what others want. As I write this, both are asleep, Emily with a firm grip on her Issie Security blanket while Logan has no interest in one at all.

              Bunnies By the Bay - Pink Purr-ty Cat Buddy  Issie Security Blanket 2 Pack - Princess Posie

And do babies under 7 months really need comforters?

Of course, every baby will be different, however research has shown that young babies (under age of 6 months) are developmentally too young to take comfort from a toy or comforter. They are much more likely to soothe and self-settle via the use of a dummy or pacifier at this age. Rednose (formeraly SIDs and Kids) have a great article on this topic here.

So what to do if a baby under 7 months is already attached or really needs a comforter

While at the end of the day, there is heaps of advice (some of it conflicting) out there and the final decision comes down to each baby, parent and situation. Maybe baby has grown attached to a special comforter already, maybe they refuse a dummy or maybe they just won’t sleep without security blanket. If that is the case and you do decide to use a comforter, here a few things you might want to consider:

-Have more than one. If you only have one, it will get lost and you will regret it. Plus they do need to be washed from time to time.

-Go lightweight breathable fabric. Muslin is perfect, as is bamboo.

-Consider attaching the comforter to your baby’s clothes or sleeping back with a child proof safety pin so that it can’t smother their face.

-Size is important – the baby comforter need to be a good size for little hands to grab and clutch, but not so big that it poses a strangulation risk

-Avoid baby comforters with loose parts (like buttons), hair/fabric that may come loose, ones with hard eyes or poor-quality ones that may fray.

Comments or suggestions?

There are heaps of great quality security blankets and baby comforters on the market today. From our personal experience with Chloe and Emily, we certainly recommend both the Issie Security Blankets and Musy Mate Loveys from Aden + Anais.

We would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations for baby security blankets and comforters? Continue the conversation in the comments section below or like us on Facebook!

Citation:

Red Nose. National Scientific Advisory Group (NSAG). 2013. Information Statement: Soft toys in the cot. Melbourne, Red Nose. This information statement was first posted in April, 2013.

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