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You'll want to provide your baby with bedding that is both comfortable and perfectly safe.
Start by choosing a safe crib that meets modern crib safety standards. If it's borrowed or bought used, be extra careful: Read up on how to buy a crib to be sure it's acceptable. And select a firm mattress (a soft one is a suffocation hazard) that fits tightly in the crib. You should not be able to fit two fingers between the mattress and the side of the crib.
Do not use bumper pads. They can lead to suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment, and there's no evidence that bumpers prevent injuries.
Use a flannel-backed, waterproof mattress pad, which is safer, cooler, and more comfortable than a plain plastic or rubber cover. Cover the pad with a fitted sheet made of cotton. Flannel will provide extra warmth and comfort in the cold winter months. Make sure the sheet fits snugly around the mattress and won't come loose while your baby is sleeping.
While it's tempting to tuck your infant in with cozy-looking blankets, soft bedding is a suffocation hazard and has been strongly linked to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). To keep your baby warm, it's best to use sleepers or infant sacks or pajamas with feet rather than comforters or blankets. If you decide to use a blanket, choose a thin one and tuck it in securely around the foot and sides of the mattress, reaching only up to your baby's chest. Tuck it in under her arms, not under her chin.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the National Institutes of Child Health (NICHD) recommend that you take all pillows, comforters, quilts, stuffed toys, sheepskins, and other soft objects out of your baby's crib. Don't let your child sleep with a pillow until she's older than age 2 and has made the transition to a bed.
Never use infant cushions that have a soft fabric covering or are loosely filled with plastic foam beads or pellets. These cushions have been linked to suffocation and banned by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Also make sure there are no strings, which can cause strangulation, on nightclothes or bedding.
Finally, always place your baby on her back to sleep in the safe sleeping environment you've provided. Studies show that babies who sleep on their back are less likely to die of SIDS. And of course, you'll want to follow all safety precautions for bedding and sleeping arrangements when your baby is away from home, too, whether she's at childcare or at Grandma's.