Children love stuffed animals and a lot of them like to bring them to bed. Still, please keep note that not children of all ages are suitable for sleeping with stuffed animals alone. Then when can a baby sleep with a stuffed animal? There are multiple protocols and standards set by international trade institutions concerning the usage of stuffed animals by children of different ages. This article will help you learn more about when can a baby sleep with stuffed animals, and all the standards respective to appropriate children's ages and matters that need attention. And it will teach you how to choose the right stuffed animal for your baby and what are all the key things to keep in mind.
When Can a Baby Sleep With Stuffed Animal safely?
Typically, whether a baby can safely sleep with a stuffed animal depends on age. If the baby is older than 12 months, sleeping with a stuffed animal is not a problem. And there are many benefits to sleeping with stuffed animals for babies older than 12 months. But there are some risks for babies younger than 12 months of age sleeping with stuffed animals. Check out some tips from the experts.
How professional organizations explain when babies can sleep with stuffed animals？
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that infants or toddlers should be prohibited from sleeping with stuffed animals until they are 1 year old. Stuffed animals increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation.” Overall, that increases the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is the sudden and unexplained death of a child who is younger than 1 year of age, in which the death rate drastically declines after the babies are 3 months old. The cause is thought to be closely related to the living environment of infants and stuffed animals are thought to be one factor. There are also several other things AAP suggested avoiding putting next to your children.
- Bumper pads or other products that attach to the crib
You may visit the official website of AAP to learn more.
What are the benefits of baby sleeping with stuffed animals?
As the experts above suggest, sleeping with a stuffed animal after 12 months of age is not too risky, and the stuffed animal will become the baby's best childhood companion and friend. Let's find out what are the benefits of sleeping with a stuffed animal?
Stuffed animals can provide a sense of security for babies
Stuffed animals can provide babies with a sense of security and companionship, help relieve anxiety and loneliness, and enhance their confidence and social skills. Stuffed animal can also be used as an emotional regulator for babies, so that when babies are angry, sad, or scared, they have someone to talk to and cuddle with.
Stuffed animals can boost your baby's cognitive development
Plushies stimulate baby's sensory and cognitive development by allowing baby to experience different materials, shapes, colors, and sounds through touching, grasping, hugging, and chewing on stuffed animal. plush toy can also serve as a catalyst for your baby's imagination and creativity, allowing your baby to expand their language and thinking skills through conversations, stories, and games with bears.
Stuffed animals can improve baby's sleep quality
Plush toys can help your baby fall asleep and maintain sleep quality by giving your baby a warm and cozy companion before bedtime, reducing waking and crying, and increasing the duration and depth of your baby's sleep. The teddy bear can also be used as an aid to your baby's sleep habits, allowing your baby to establish a fixed and regular sleep pattern by sleeping with the toy.
What are the potential risks of babies sleeping with stuffed animals?
There are two sides to everything and baby sleeping with stuffed animals is no exception. In addition to the favorable aspects, you also need to be aware of some of the potential risks associated with your baby sleeping with stuffed animals. And try to avoid these risks as much as possible by following the information below about choosing the right stuffed animal for your baby to sleep with. Let's start by understanding some of the potential risks of babies sleeping with stuffed animals.
Stuffed animals may cause allergic reactions in babies
Stuffed animals may cause allergic reactions in babies, especially for babies who are sensitive to dust mites, pollen, or animal hair, stuffed animals may carry some of these allergens, causing babies to sneeze, have a runny nose, or rashes. Teddy bears may also cause skin irritation, especially for babies who are sensitive to dyes, fragrances, or chemicals, stuffed animals may contain some of these irritants, resulting in redness, swelling, itching, or cracking.
Plushies may pose a choking hazard for babies
Stuffed animals may cause choking hazards for babies, especially for some younger, lighter, or weaker breathing babies, stuffed animals may block babies' noses and mouths, causing babies to have difficulty breathing or even suffocate. Stuffed animals may also pose a swallowing hazard, especially for some curious, mischievous, or teething babies, stuffed animals may be bitten or torn off by the baby, causing the baby to swallow or even get stuck in the throat.
Stuffed animals may affect baby's developmental process
Stuffed animals may affect your baby's developmental process, especially for some babies who are overly dependent, lack autonomy, or don't want to interact with others. Stuffed animals may make your baby overly engrossed in his or her own little world, resulting in the baby neglecting other learning and activities, and even affecting the baby's emotional, cognitive, and social development. Stuffed animals may also affect the baby's sleep quality, especially for some babies who are sleep deprived, sleep irregularly, or don't sleep deeply, teddy bears may make babies sleep too tightly, too long, or too shallow, leading to disruptions in the baby's biological clock, hormone levels, and brain function.
How to choose the best stuffed animal for sleeping with baby?
After the babies turned 1 year old, it is important to choose safe stuffed animals for them as well, below are some suggestions to help you choose an appropriate stuffed animal. It also helps you understand how to avoid the potential risks that stuffed animals pose to your baby.
Remember to choose stuffed animals with short legs and short necks, try to purchase stuffed animals with their extra small parts like eyes embroidered or heat-sealed. This is because stuffed animals with plastic eyes and strings of ribbons and bow ties might fall off during play and pose a choking risk to your children. In addition, those parts like long legs or long necks of some animals are also long and loose and might cause strangling hazards. You should also check whether they become loose during the play once in a while. Choosing stuffed animals of good quality is vitally important as well, PlushThis provides great products of stuffed animals, come check the webpage and pick the best stuffed animals for your baby!
Safety standards for sleeping with plush toys for babies over 12 months old
AAP suggests avoiding putting any object aside from your children under 12 months old when they're asleep “that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation.” For those over 12 months old, there are specific regulations by different regions like in the U.S.(ASTM F963), Europe(Toy Safety Directive (TSD)), Canada(CCPSA), etc. Below are commonly agreed standards of stuffed animals for 1 to 3 years old and 3 years older.
From 1 to 3 years old
- Toys and the removal of parts on them, in any direction, should not be fully accommodated into the specified widget sleeve, beware of the formation of small widgets
- The toy surface and accessible edge should be free of burrs
- The filling material should not contain any sharp objects
- The thickness of the rope on the toy should be at least 1.5mm
- The free length of the rope on the toy, including the attachment to the rope, may form a rope circle: the free length does not exceed 220mm under the pulling force of 25N (plus or minus 2N). Or, when subjected to 25N (plus or minus 2N) in the force, the 25N (plus or minus 2N) tensile force telescoped into a few parts of no more than 220mm, after stretching without changing the connection situation should be able to disconnect the part link
- Under the pulling force of 25N (plus or minus 2N), the circumference of any rope on the rope should not exceed 380mm
Above 3 years old
- Not applicable to those toys that take into account the function, size, characteristics, performance, or other convincing reasons of the user and are clearly not suitable for the use of children under 3 years of age, toys that are not for the use of children under 3 years of age but may be dangerous to children under 3 years of age, should be affixed with warning signs. (e.g. "Not suitable for children under 36 months" or "Not suitable for children under 3 years" with a brief description of the specific hazard that needs to be restricted and the word "warning" placed at the top)
- The age warning in the product sales office should be clear and easy to understand, the age warning logo can be replaced by the symbol given in the icon symbol of EN71-6 Toy Safety Part 6, age warning label
- Toys shall meet all inspection standards
When exactly is it okay for a baby to sleep with a stuffed animal? I think you have your answer. Yes, sleeping with a stuffed animal from 12 months onwards is a safer option and less risky. Of course, it's still important to choose a stuffed animal wisely to avoid the potential risks of sleeping with a stuffed animal and to maximize the benefits that a stuffed animal can bring to your child. For example, choose stuffed animals that are made of organic cotton that meets the relevant safety labels, and avoid stuffed animals that have a lot of small objects.
1.When can you put stuffed animals in the crib？
As summarized above, technically you can let your children sleep with stuffed animals soon as they're 3 months old. However, AAP suggests prolonging that time to 12 months because there is still a chance for SIDS to happen, and also they have some but not enough strength and ability to move to play with stuffed animals. It depends on the specific individual but overall infants from 3 months to 12 months old are generally considered not be able to untangle themselves if suffocated by stuffed animals.
2.Why do babies like to sleep with stuffed animals?
Because stuffed animals look cute and kind, which makes babies love to play with them and wants to keep them by their side always. Stuffed animals of good quality are also soft and smooth, which improves sleeping quality.