The most important concern when buying baby blankets is safety. Aesthetics are far less important than safety since children not yet a year-old should avoid certain types of baby blankets. It’s not that aesthetics shouldn’t be a factor, but you can find pleasing designs, colours and patterns that are safe.
One baby blanket that must be avoided is the one which usually is included in a crib set. This blanket will usually be quilted, and quilts have been linked to SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome. The quilt can cause the baby to suffocate; this is also the reason why pillows should never be placed in the crib.
A newborn tends to overheat quickly, much more so than an adult. Good choices for the newborn are baby blankets made from a soft, light, natural fabric. A receiving blanket is an excellent choice as many newborns like to be swaddled, the tight feeling of being swaddled is similar to what the baby was accustomed to while in the womb. Light cotton receiving blankets make a great choice, and they come in a wide array of colours and patterns which match any nursery theme.
As the baby gets a little older, the blanket can be a little heavier, but it is still recommended that the blanket be made of cotton, cashmere or other similar material. Regardless of what material is used in the blanket, avoid buying one with any object that can be torn off and get into the baby’s mouth. Never buy baby blankets with a fringe, buttons or fancy trim. Up until the child reaches about a year-old, use this type of blanket and continue using crib bumpers as well.
Many parents prefer using what are often called “blanket pyjamas,” that keep the child warm but overcome any possibility of the baby getting entangled. The blanket pyjamas are like a nightgown that has been sewn up at the bottom; some even have feet. Remember though, consider the weather when you purchase this type of blanket because you do not want the baby to be overheated.
Cotton baby blankets should be machine washed three or four times before they are used. Cotton flannel tends to have a lot of lint, and an effort should be made to remove as much as possible before the first use. After several trips through the washing machine, most lint will be gone so the potential of ingesting it or breathing it in is greatly reduced. Blankets made from an acrylic fibre should be avoided as they get fuzzy over time. A great choice is cashmere; they don’t shed lint, are easily hand washed, and they provide a form of ventilation as they are a natural fibre.