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Even before our child was born we were told that newborns and infants should sleep on a flat mattress. No one, however, told us when to introduce a pillow.

When can and/or should children start sleeping on pillows?

  • We waited until the child could crawl, therefore he was able to lift his head and move it (which is one of the concerns). I am interested in hearing what the "official" answer is. – Dan Andrews Jun 3 '15 at 13:58
  • I don't know if there is any point where a child needs to be on a pillow (e.g., it's an item for head/face comfort, not warmth or safety) — is "whenever they seem to want one" a valid (albeit vague) answer for when should? – Acire Jun 3 '15 at 14:11
  • @Erica isn't it a health item also? For me it's virtually impossible to comfortably sleep on my side without a pillow. – Dariusz Jun 4 '15 at 17:41
  • I'm honestly not sure about how it ties into posture or health at all. Probably depends on one's preferred sleeping position. – Acire Jun 4 '15 at 17:55
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I haven't been able to find anything remotely official (e.g. NIH study), but found this so far:

John Pearce and Jane Bidder, authors of "Baby and Toddler Sleep Program: How to Get Your Child to Sleep," warn parents to wait as long as possible to introduce a pillow, preferably until a toddler reaches 18 months of age or later. (src)

The main reason to delay is the risk of suffocation.


Another source:

According to AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), it is still not clear on when it is safe to give a baby her/his own pillow. Even so, some experts seem to agree that the safest time is when your child is one year old. When a child is twelve months old, the risk of suffocation reduces considerably. However, if your child is still sleeping in a crib, remove all objects that may cause suffocation. The pillow should be small, firm and flat like the ones given on airplanes.

Please note that while the source referenced AAP, I wasn't able to find AAP recommendation directly yet.

  • 1
    This is consistent with what I've seen. Definitely not in a crib - as those have higher suffocation risks due to things being caught in the rails. My kids got optional pillows when they left the crib (18 months to 2 years) but the older one didn't use it until 3 regularly, and the younger (2.25) still doesn't. – Joe Jun 3 '15 at 15:08
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It they are ok with the crib bed set so there is no need of a pillow for the kids under 2. It will be suffocation for the kids while using it.

If you would like to use the pillow for the LO so you need to wait till they move from the crib to bed. orelse you can use a small pillow while he is still using the crib. So you have to be aware that you should be away from using the feather pillows.

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