Is it safe to place a stuffed animal in a baby’s crib?
When it comes to gifts for a newborn, many new parents, grandparents, and other family members think there is nothing more perfect for a baby’s room than a plush, stuffed animal. But whether it’s a teddy bear or a fluffy dinosaur, the truth of the matter is, stuffed animals are not a safe bet at all — especially when they are placed near a sleeping infant.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a stuffed animal falls into the category of dangerous items that new parents and caregivers should never place near a sleeping baby in a crib or carriage. Other items in this category include pillow-like toys, blankets, quilts, crib bumpers, and other bedding. The reason why? It’s because these items can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and death by suffocation or strangulation.
These innocent looking toys and plush items can be deadly because they can potentially cover a baby’s face and cause suffocation. In fact, experts say that a baby should never sleep with soft objects during the first 12 months of life. This also includes pillows which should not be given to a child until he or she is sleeping in a bed. The good news is that the risk of SIDS goes down significantly after 12 months at which time parents may wish to incorporate a special toy or comforting blanket into a crib.
Beyond keeping stuffed animals and other soft materials out of the crib, parents should also follow these simple rules on sleep safety for infants:
- Place your baby in a bare crib with no cover, pillows, bumper pads, or positioning devices.
- Place your baby — both day or night — on her back when sleeping.
- Place your baby in a safe location for sleeping, such as a crib.
- Use a firm crib mattress with a securely fitted sheet.
The Do Not’s:
- Do not leave toys — including stuffed animals — in your baby’s crib.
- Do not cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping.
- Do not share the same bed with your baby or fall asleep with your baby in a chair or sofa.
- Do not overdress your baby or keep the room to warm.
By following these simple safety rules, both baby and parent will be able to rest much easier. For more information on infant sleep safety, visit http://www.scdhec.gov/Health/ChildTeenHealth/EarlyChildhood/InfantSleepSafety/.
Visit abcquality.org to learn more about child care and development, search for ABC Quality approved child care provider and learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.
By ABC Quality Team on July 9, 2019