When Can A Toddler Use A Pillow?
A bed is not complete for us grown-ups without a big squishy pillow to sink our heads into, but it’s a different story for a young child. It’s not recommended for babies to have a pillow, so at what age can you introduce a pillow, and when should you?
Babies under 12 months old should not have a pillow. Safer sleep guidelines say babies should have a clear cot with a flat mattress, no pillows, cushions or toys. This is because at this age their necks are short and weak, and so tipping their head up with a pillow can restrict their airway, or if they turn into the pillow or it goes over their face it can cause suffocation.
Toddlers tend to throw shapes through the night and end up in all sorts of funny positions - upside down, legs hanging over the side, curled up, stretched out like a starfish - anywhere except where you put them at bedtime. Bear in mind that this won’t stop just because you give them a pillow, and they are likely to end up with their head at the other end of their bed and their feet on the pillow, or just push the pillow off the side of the bed onto the floor. If your little one is a nighttime breakdancer you might want to wait a few months until their sleep movements have calmed down a bit before trying a pillow.
Once your child is over a year old you may like to introduce a pillow. Common reasons to do so include hoping it will make them more comfortable and sleep better, because they are moving up to the next size bed, or because you are switching from baby bedding to a duvet and pillowcase set.
When you are ready to try a pillow look for a toddler sized one, like our Wool Toddler Pillow. With dimensions of 40 x 60cm it is smaller than a standard UK pillow, so perfectly sized to support the shorter neck and lighter head of a toddler. The wool filling is softly supportive for a growing spine, as well as breathable and hypoallergenic. The natural fibre will also help to prevent overheating - no more sweaty neck at night!
Nobody likes to think about it, but pillows can harbour a lot of bacteria from hair grease and warm breath, as well as dust mites and other allergens. For young children, it’s especially important to keep this to a minimum to avoid exacerbating asthma, eczema and other conditions. The Kabode Wool Toddler Pillow is machine washable, so you can easily freshen it up when needed.
Once you have chosen a pillow, and your child has got used to having it as part of their sleep routine, there’s no going back! So make sure you choose a quality pillow that will last through their early years in both a cot and cot bed.