When can my child sleep with a stuffed animal?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents keep their babies’ cribs free of anything that might block their breathing (e.g., blankets, pillows, quilts, comforters, stuffed animals) for at least the first 12 months. Such items increase the risk of suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is the leading cause of death of babies age 1 month to 1 year. Blankets, stuffed animals, and other fluffy items like crib bumpers may also collect dust, which can lead to sinus congestion and breathing problems for your baby, or those with asthma.

After your baby’s first birthday, the risk of SIDS drops dramatically. At this age, most children can roll over, sit up, and move objects away from their face. Still, many experts suggest that parents wait until at least their child’s second birthday before introducing soft materials, such as stuffed animals, into their child's sleep space. 

When you do decide to place a stuffed animal in your child’s bed, select one without buttons, ribbons, hard eyes, and other removable parts. 

Click here for more baby bedding tips including where to sleep, outfitting the bed, and checking the baby sleep space provided by your caregivers.

Last updated January 15, 2024

Suggested Reads