Why You Shouldn't Cover Your Baby With A Blanket

| by Lauren Briggs
baby wrapped up in crocheted blanketbaby wrapped up in crocheted blanket

While caring parents might immediately reach for a blanket to protect babies from harsh weather, experts advise them to think again.

Experts warn that wrapping your baby in a blanket can cause heat stroke or suffocation, LiftBump reports.

Covering a stroller with a light blanket on a hot day does not simply provide shade to cool off the baby; instead, it insulates the stroller with hot air and minimal circulation and can mimic the effects of a hot car.

Swedish researchers tested this out to see how much a thin cover could change the temperature in a stroller and came to shocking conclusions. During their test, the temperature was a mild 71.6 degrees outside, but the temperature inside the blanketed stroller rose by 15 degrees in a half hour. After one hour, it hit 98.6 degrees, a temperature that can easily cause overheating, serious injury or death.

"It would quickly become uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for the child," said Dr. Svante Norgren, a pediatrician at Stockholm's Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, according to LiftBump. "[I]f a child gets too hot then the child may think that it is back in the womb, which is why breathing may stop."

Experts recommend allowing air circulation in a stroller and, if necessary, using a breathable mesh cover.

Baby blankets can cause danger inside the home as well. Experts have linked Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SID) not only to overheating but also to accidental suffocation in bed, notes CBS News.

While suffocation in bed is uncommon, it is still the leading cause of injury-related infant deaths. Safety guidelines warn against using soft bedding such as pillows, blankets, quilts, cushioned crib bumpers and soft toys, but a 2010 survey found that as many as half of U.S. infants still regularly sleep with these hazardous items.

Instead, experts recommend dressing your child in safe sleepwear, such as one piece jumpers, and closely monitoring the baby's temperature.

Sources: LiftBump, CBS News
Photo Credit: Nostepinne/Flickr, Juhan Sonin/Flickr