Child Pillow: Should I avoid it and is it Dangerous?

May 3, 2024

Are you wondering when to introduce the child pillow? In this article, we will look at when to put a pillow on the baby, which pillow to use at one year old, whether to use a pillow for babies, how to place the baby on the pillow, and when a baby or toddler can be on their stomach. Let’s get started!

child pillow

When can the child pillow be used

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is advisable to wait until a child is at least 2 years old before introducing a pillow to his or her bed.

This recommendation is motivated by the prevention of the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and other sleep-related hazards.

Before this age, a safe sleeping environment involves a flat, hard surface with no pillows, plush toys, or excess blankets, but we discuss this more in the dedicated article.

In the first year of life, the baby needs little more than a proper mattress and a sleeping bag to ensure maximum safety during sleep.

It is important to ensure that the child sleeps on his or her back, a condition that significantly reduces the risk of SIDS, as well as avoiding bed-sharing and smoking in the presence of the child.

What pillow to use at age 1?

Although general recommendations advise against using pillows before age 2, some parents may feel tempted to introduce a pillow earlier, especially if they feel their child is not sleeping comfortably.

If you decide to make this choice, it is crucial to opt for a flat, firm pillow specifically designed for very young children.

These pillows are designed to minimize the risk of suffocation and provide adequate support for the child’s head and neck.

Indeed, there are situations, such as reflux, that require precautions to provide relief for the baby, but the best way is to put a very small booster under the mattress.

We emphasize, however, that NONE of these tools decrease SIDS risk.

It is also important to reiterate that the safest option remains to avoid any type of pillow until the baby is 2 years old.

If you have any doubts or concerns about the comfort or safety of your child’s sleep, always consult a pediatrician.

Which child pillow to use for babies?

When it comes time to choose a pillow for your child, the variety of options available can seem overwhelming.

The key is to look for pillows specifically designed for toddlers that take into account their unique needs, especially if they don’t have a good sleep most of nights.

A good baby pillow should be fairly thin compared to adult pillows to keep the spine and neck in a neutral position.

In addition, it must be made of hypoallergenic and breathable materials to prevent allergic reactions and ensure good ventilation during sleep.

Also check that the pillow is machine washable, to easily maintain a clean and hygienic sleeping environment.

Some products have removable and washable covers, a practical option for parents.

How do you place the newborn on the pillow?

The answer to this question is simple: the newborn should NOT be placed on a pillow. If he has reflux, the only solution, however unsafe, is the mini-booster under the mattress, to keep the entire bed empty and as level as possible.

If, on the other hand, the child is over two years old, we can help him position himself by resting his head on the pillow on his stomach.

We know that after a few seconds, that position will have already changed!

Since when can babies sleep on their stomachs?

The transition to sleeping on the tummy is another milestone that worries many parents. In fact, if the baby is still in the danger period for SIDS, belly sleeping is the most dangerous.

But if the baby can turn over independently on its own during the night, you can rest easier. It doesn’t mean the danger is averted, but you know the baby can turn over on his own.

When babies begin to roll over on their own, you can feel more comfortable letting them choose their preferred sleeping position.

However, make sure their sleeping environment remains safe, with no excess pillows, toys or blankets that could pose a choking hazard.

We are with you.

We at Parentalife are here to support you at every stage of the parenting journey.

Whether it’s deciding when to introduce a child pillow in the crib or dealing with any other challenges related to raising your children, you can count on us for reliable guidance, in-depth classes and personalized advice.

The safety and well-being of your children is our priority, and we are here to help you make the best decisions for their health and happiness.


Kim H, Pearson-Shaver AL. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. [Updated 2023 Jul 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from:

About the Author

Claudia Denti

Claudia Denti is the founder of Genitore Informato and Parentalife.