In recent years, there has been a great deal of discussion about baby blankets and the risks they pose, particularly related to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Research has shown that babies who sleep with blankets in their cribs are five times more likely to die from SIDS than those who sleep without loose blankets.
Enter the sleep sack. Sleep sacks are essentially wearable blankets. The top part fits over baby and looks somewhat like a vest. Baby’s head and arms are left free and uncovered. The bottom part is a sack, much like a sleeping bag, which zips up in the front.
When a baby is laid down in a sleep sack, she is free to move around, kick, wiggle, and even roll over without losing her covers or risking them covering her face. Because of this, babies in sleep sacks are less likely to die of SIDS than babies covered with blankets (and especially loose blankets).
In addition to a lower risk of SIDS, sleep sacks offer these advantages:
You can make sure your baby stays warm without becoming too warm. Babies can’t kick a sleep sack off like they can with blankets. This also keeps tired parents from having to constantly check to make sure the baby is still covered and warm.
Baby has more freedom of movement. While some babies like swaddling, others don’t. While swaddling is necessary if you’re going to use blankets for an infant, it restricts movement. Sleep sacks eliminate the need for swaddling, allowing baby to move about as she needs to.
Sleep sacks are easy to put on without waking baby. They slip on right over baby’s clothes or pajamas and zip up the front.
Convenient. When you’re packing, a sleep sack folds right up and takes up about as much room as a baby outfit.
Sleep sacks do have one disadvantage. As mentioned before, their shape and the fact that they zip up doesn’t allow for swaddling. Many believe that babies like swaddling because it replicates the security of being in the womb. With that said, though, most babies get used to sleep sacks fairly quickly, especially if they’re introduced to them young. A little less swaddling just might be an acceptable price to pay for a significantly reduced risk of SIDS.