Crochet blankets are a very common gift that crafty people like to give for baby showers or new babies. They can be some of the most cherished items received. But are they safe to actually use?!
Crochet baby blankets are safe to use when an infant is supervised. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants under 12 months old should never have any blanket in the crib with them. Crochet blankets are safe and useful for use when supervised in the stroller or car seat, or to lay on during supervised tummy time.
There are some considerations for crochet baby blankets that can improve safety. They are NEVER safe to be used for infants under 12 months old in the crib, but they can be perfectly safe for supervised times. If you are thinking of making a baby blanket, keep reading to see what you should consider. If you received a baby blanket, keep reading to see how and when you can use it!
How To Use a Crochet Baby Blanket Safely
Do NOT use in a crib
First things first. When should you NOT use a crochet baby blanket? You should NEVER use a crochet baby blanket in a crib during the child’s first year of life. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, having ANYTHING in the crib with an infant increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This includes any type of blanket, stuffed toys, crib bumpers, etc.
The recommendation for cribs is to have a firm mattress with only a snug-fitting sheet. To keep your infant warm, it is recommended to use appropriate pajamas, and if needed, a wearable blanket.
Use during tummy time
It is recommended that supervised tummy time starts right away for infants. Initially, this usually occurs on a parents’ chest when laying down, but it progresses quickly to on the ground.
This is a perfect time to bust out that baby blanket or afghan that you have. They provide some cushion and are soft against your baby’s new skin. Depending on the style/pattern, they can have some texture or various colors which can be stimulating for your baby. Also, they are easy to clean by throwing in the washer (as long as the material used allows it) in case of the inevitable spit-up or blow-out diaper.
Unfortunately, soon your little baby will be rolling and crawling right off of the blanket no matter how much you try to keep them on it! But don’t worry! There are going to be more uses for those crochet blankets!
Use in car seat or stroller
You can use a crocheted blanket to tuck snugly around your baby when they are in the car seat or stroller. Infants should be supervised during these times which decreases any risk involved with using any blanket.
A nice thing about crochet is the large variety available. If you live somewhere warm, you may have a lightweight blanket just to deal with breezes. If you live somewhere cold, you can have a heavier blanket to keep your little one warm and toasty.
You could also use a larger baby blanket to toss over the car seat or stroller to block the sun. We all know that the shades on those things don’t typically provide enough coverage to keep the sun out of your little one’s eyes.
As with use in cribs, do not leave your baby unattended while using a blanket, even for a quick shower or bathroom break.
Use in a bouncer seat
Similar to use in a car seat or stroller, the crocheted baby blanket can be tucked around your baby while in a bouncer seat. The same rules apply about never leaving your baby unattended during this time.
Use when holding your baby
When holding your baby, you can use a crochet blanket to provide warmth and comfort. This can be for you and for your baby. There is something soothing about having a blanket someone (or you) made especially for your baby. Those are some of the moments I am nostalgic about. I love having those pictures.
It has become very trendy to take monthly photos of babies. There are many options available to purchase and personalize in terms of blankets or banners for those monthly pictures. But using something that someone who loves your baby has made can make it more personal. I loved having a specific item with my daughters for every picture so that It is easier for me to compare their growth. (Full disclosure, I did not use a blanket for these pictures because my mom made “memory bears” that are the same size as my girls when they were born (weight and length), so I had them next to the bear for each picture.)
Save for when you child is older
If you have a baby blanket that just doesn’t feel right or safe for your infant even with supervision, you can always save it until they are a little older. Older children do not have the same risks with blankets that infants do and you can introduce more items as kids get older. After 12 months, children can begin sleeping with items, so you could introduce them for bed or it could be a blanket for other things like picnics or a lovey.
Keep as an heirloom
So this isn’t really about “using” the crochet baby blanket. With that being said, there are certain blankets that I have kept back from use to save as an heirloom to be passed down. I have the luxury of doing this because my grandma made multiple blankets for my daughters, so I could use one and keep one back. My mom and I have also made a variety of blankets for both of my girls. We have LOTS of crocheted blankets!
What to Consider When Making a Crochet Baby Blanket
If you are making a baby blanket for someone or for yourself, there are a few things you should consider to make sure the item is safe and functional.
Choose a pattern with smaller holes versus a lacework pattern.
You can add interest with bobbles or other textured stitches versus using openwork techniques. The lacy patterns are not as safe for infants because they could get fingers or toes caught up in even fairly small holes and larger holes could stretch to fit an entire arm/leg or even their head through which is obviously a safety risk.
Avoid embellishing with beads, ribbons, or tassels. These are sometimes used in crochet to add interest, but for babies, they are not safe.
Babies put EVERYTHING in their mouths. Beads could come loose and pose a choking hazard. Same with ribbons or tassels. Ribbons often break over time as they are not as strong as a woven fiber used for yarn. Tassels could come off completely or some of the fibers could be easily pulled out.
If you put a border on your crochet blanket, make sure it is very secure and will not come loose. If it comes loose, it could result in a hole or it could result in pieces coming off as a choking hazard.
When considering fiber type, there are specific yarns marketed for baby use. These are typically appropriate to use for babies, but sometimes they are more pricey than other options. You don’t have to use a yarn specifically for babies is the good news!
You will want to use acrylic yarn or a cotton blend yarn typically. Pure cotton or wool yarns are rougher and can be scratchy for baby skin. I always use acrylic yarn because it is soft and smooth. It is also easy to maintain and clean. Most can be machine washed and dried. (This will be specified on the yarn packaging.) They do typically hold up well in the wash which is very important for any baby items.
When you gift a crochet item, I highly recommend giving care instructions to the person you give it to. Many people are worried about actually using the item because they don’t want to mess it up. If you explain to them how to care for/clean the item, they are more likely to actually use it!
Most baby yarns are going to be lighter weight to avoid being too heavy to actually place over the baby. This being said, you can really use whatever you want depending on the purpose of the blanket. Heavier yarns (weight 4, 5, or 6) can be used if you are wanting the blanket to be for laying on top of during playtime or something like that.
So with all that being said, definitely keep using and gifting crochet baby blankets! Just make sure to use them safely and not during sleep! Check out my post Crochet Cuddly Car Seat Blanket for a pattern for your next one!
If you think of any other questions about this topic, drop me a comment, and I will answer the best I can!
Now it is time for YOU to get Crafty with Ashy! Show me some of your favorite crochet baby blankets in the comments!
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