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Wait until your baby is at least 12 months old. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), soft bedding in a crib – like blankets and pillows – increases of the risk of suffocation or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Safe alternatives to blankets are sleepers, sleep sacks, and wearable blankets.
After 12 months, the statistical likelihood of dying from SIDS plummets. The risk of suffocation also goes down because most 12-month-olds are able to roll over and have the dexterity to move blankets away from their face.
It's best not to use crib bumpers, sleep positioners (like wedges), special mattresses, or anything else that claims to reduce the risk of SIDS. According to the AAP, not only do these devices fail to protect your baby, some infants have suffocated while using them.
Once your baby is 12 months, it's okay for your child to bring a blanket or special toy to bed for comfort, but it's still safest to keep his crib relatively empty – so don't give your child a pillow until he has transitioned from the crib to a bed.