I’m starting a new series called “STUFF I DON’T KNOW” or SIDK. It’s about, well, stuff I don’t know the answer to… and there’s plenty of it. I’ve been wondering for a while when my toddler son should start to sleep with a pillow. Here what I found out:When should my toddler sleep with a pillow?
Though they’re often sold with crib bedding sets, pillows are not recommended for children under 2. Actually, older kids don’t need pillows either. Parents often think a pillow will provide their child with extra comfort, not realizing that their child was doing fine without it. If you want to introduce a pillow, it’s best to wait until your toddler moves from a crib to a bed. But if you want to give him one while he’s still sleeping in a crib, go with one that’s small (the size of an airline pillow) and firm. Stay away from feather pillows, which are too soft, can set off allergies, and can smother a child if his head sinks into it while he’s sleeping.
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The “official” recommendation from the Something Something Expert Academy of Associations of Something, is to wait until a child is two years old before letting them sleep with a pillow. However, many pediatricians don’t draw such a hard line, and will sometimes even recommend parents try a pillow if their child is, say, an especially bad bad sleeper or bothered by colds, allergies or chronic ear infections. When I Googled around for that “official” guideline I generally came across articles by an “expert” saying two years…and hundreds of comments from parents saying: Yeah, whatever, my kid’s used a pillow for ages and is JUST FINE.
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I recommend avoiding a pillow for your baby until she is well into being a toddler over 2 years old. And, if she is content not to use a pillow at all, don’t even worry about it. My eldest son didn’t care to sleep on a pillow until he was close to 2 1/2 and then we gave him a very flat pillow.
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The most helpful piece of advice I found was from WikiHow:
Evaluate whether your toddler is ready to use a pillow. Do not use pillows in cribs, where they can be a suffocation hazard. The best time to introduce your toddler to a pillow is when the child begins sleeping in a bed. Once a child’s shoulders are wider than the head, the child usually will be more comfortable sleeping with a pillow.
I won’t worry about introducing a pillow to my (now 19 month old) toddler until he’s in a big boy bed! That will be after he’s 2 years old. There’s no indication that he wants a pillow and he’s sleeping wonderfully through the night in his crib. Why mess with that? I’m satisfied! Thanks internet.
Check back next week for part 2 – “Toddler Pillow Roundup”