Baby headbands – little baby hats – can be adorable but you need to take them off when your baby is sleeping. That’s because they could slip down and obstruct your baby’s breathing – and even cause suffocation.
“We recommend that babies do not have their head or face covered while sleeping,” says Kate Holmes of the safer-sleep charity The Lullaby Trust.
“Head-covering can lead to overheating which can increase the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) or suffocation.”
Yep, there are lots of safe sleeping guidelines for babies but perhaps the 2 most important rules always to stick to are:
- Put your baby to sleep on their back
- Remove anything loose/unnecessary in the cot
This means that, as well as removing anything your baby’s headband or hat, you should make sure your baby’s cot is free from cuddly toys and loose blankets/muslins (if you do use a blanket, it must be well tucked in).
“We don’t recommend the use of anything additional in a baby’s sleep space, such as pillows, toys, comforters, bumpers or loose bedding,” says Kate Holmes.
The danger of letting your baby sleep in a headband has recently (June 2019) been highlighted through a Facebook post written by the friend of a mum whose baby died when she left her sleeping in her carrycot after a long walk.
The mum took a shower, and when she went to check on her baby found the big-bow headband her baby had been wearing had slipped over her baby’s nose and mouth and caused suffocation.
The story was published in the Manchester Evening News, where Sheila Merrill of RoSPA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) commented:
“Children can easily swallow, inhale or choke on items left in their reach as they naturally grasp anything and put it in their mouths. Once in their mouth they find it difficult to remove the item.
“Parents can prevent the risk of choking and suffocation by ensuring that small objects or items are kept out of reach of children under the age of 3.”
We’re not saying baby headbands aren’t safe; they’re fine when your baby’s awake. But you should remove them before your baby goes down for a nap, as well as thinking about taking them off whenever you can’t watch your baby closely at all times – for example, if you have them in a car seat.