5-Month Old’s Death Highlights Crib Pillow Safety
This is heartbreaking. Just imagine putting your 5-month old baby in her crib for an afternoon nap, and when you go in to wake her up, she’s totally unresponsive. You look in her crib and realize it was the crib pillow that caused this. Somehow she pulled it up over her face. An autopsy later revealed that the baby, Akayelah Colleen Dejah Collis had a heart attack after the blood supply to her brain was cut off. The reason was confirmed to be the crib pillow in her bed.
When Should a Baby have a Crib Pillow?
I was always so paranoid with my little ones. I didn’t let them have pillows until they were in a toddler bed. My pediatrician was a firm subscriber to that rule too. He said the fact some babies have indeed suffocated due to pillows in the crib, why risk it? And I have to agree. The rule of thumb from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is when a child is 18-months old and sleeping in a toddler bed. They are very clear in their opinion that if your baby is in a crib no matter the age, don’t use a pillow.
A Sad Statistic
According to the CPSC, there are an average of 32 infant deaths a year due to pillows used at a mattress for a baby or in an attempt to prop a baby’s head. The majority of these incidents happened to babies under 3-months of age. When my daughter had a terrible head cold when she was about 6-months old my pediatrician gave me a great tip for elevating her head like using a pillow. It was to get a piece of foam rubber and just use an electric kitchen knife to cut it into a slight wedge. Then, I put that foam rubber wedge under my daughter’s mattress on her crib and it just elevated her a little bit, but she could breath so much better. That, along with a humidifier really helped her sleep better. There are now products on the market that both raise crib legs slightly on one end or a wedge that looks much like the one I cut with an electric knife.
“My Friend’s Baby Sleeps on a Crib Pillow Without Any Issues.”
I seriously got told that by a well-meaning acquaintance who was basically telling me to get over it and just give my kiddo a pillow in her crib. I really couldn’t do it. All three of my kids got their first pillows whenever they left the crib behind, and we converted their crib to a toddler bed. We also put a lot of fanfare into choosing a big kid pillow, sheets, and comforter. I never used pillows or heavy blankets in my kid’s cribs, both can cause suffocation. To me, the risk isn’t worth taking.
Who is Right About Crib Pillows?
I was chatting with a large group of other mothers in an online forum, and I asked the group what they thought about the topic of using a crib pillow. The virtual room divided into two basic groups, those that thought everyone was overreacting and those that thought the people that used pillows in their baby’s crib were endangering the child. I was taken aback at how heated the discussion got. After the debate lasted a couple of hours, no one had their minds changed, and the room stayed very divided on the subject. I didn’t hear anything from the side that used a pillow in their baby’s crib that made me think it was a good idea.
Personally, I wouldn’t use a pillow with an infant in a crib. It’s just much safer to not have it in there. How do you feel about using a crib pillow? Did you use one, would you?