Safe Slumber – Baby Bedding Basics

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Baby Bedding

I know you’ve seen them too. Those fabulous five-piece baby bedding sets that are both eye-catching and appealing in a matchy-matchy sort of way. Sure, they’re marketed to make you think your newborn couldn’t possibly survive—let alone sleep—without them. But are all those pieces of bedding really necessary? More importantly, are they safe?


Typically, a baby bedding set includes a comforter, bumper pad, a dust ruffle, a diaper stacker, and a fitted sheet. Let’s talk about what’s really essential for your baby’s crib.

First, the use of comforters in the crib is highly discouraged due to their link to death by suffocation or smothering. To keep your baby warm, instead rely on the use of sleepers and sleeping sacks. If you do use a blanket, be sure it’s thin and tightly swaddled around your baby with no fabric near the chin. Conclusion: Skip it! A baby comforter is not worth the risk.


Second, using a bumper pad in your baby’s crib really isn’t necessary either. It may even be hazardous if it’s puffy or extra-soft. If you do decide to use a bumper, be sure it’s thin and fastens tightly to the crib. Don’t let any strings dangle in or near the crib. Conclusion: Skip it! A bumper pad is unnecessary and may be hazardous by trapping dangerous gases near your baby’s face, potentially causing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).


Third, let's visit the dust ruffle. Like a bed skirt, a dust ruffle is merely aesthetic. While it’s not unsafe, it’s also not necessary. In fact, the design of many cribs makes the dust ruffle hidden from view unless the mattress is on the lowest level. Conclusion: Consider it… You don’t need a dust ruffle, but it isn’t inherently dangerous either.


Next, we have the diaper stacker. Let’s be honest, this piece is fairly unrelated to your baby’s crib set-up. It’s one of those extras thrown in to sweeten the baby-bedding pot. It’s not necessary and takes up space you may need for other items in your nursery. In fact, many moms store their diapers in baskets on the changing table shelf. Conclusion: Skip it! There are other, space-saving ways to keep diapers within reach that won’t cost extra money.


Finally, let’s discuss the fitted sheet. This one is a must-have. Besides a firm mattress, it’s the only item the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for your baby’s crib. Standard size mattress and crib sheets measure 51 5/8” long by 27 ¼” wide by 5 1/2” thick. You’ll want to be sure your sheet fits snugly around your crib mattress. Conclusion: Buy it! The fitted sheet is a must-have.


Here are a few additional baby bedding tips as you set up your baby’s sleep space:

  • Consider a flannel-backed, waterproof mattress pad since it’s safer, cooler, and often more comfortable than a plastic or rubber cover.
  • Don’t use a sleep positioner since some can be lethal if your baby slides down and presses his or her face against the soft surface.
  • Don’t place any decorative pillows or stuffed animals in your baby’s crib.
  • Buy extra high-quality fitted sheets since you’ll be washing them often.

Organic crib sheets are typically made of 100% organic cotton that’s both soft and breathable. If you’d like to invest in organic crib sheets, you’re in luck. Many large and small retailers now offer them. Check out these sites as you begin your search for the perfect bedding that’s safe—and comfortable--for your baby!

Aden + Anais



The Clean Bedroom



Baby Center: – Baby’s First Year:

Consumer Reports: