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Don't let your baby sleep with any soft objects until he's at least 12 months old. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, pillow-like toys, blankets, quilts, crib bumpers, and other bedding increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and death by suffocation or strangulation.
Although it may seem unlikely, there is a chance that a doll or stuffed toy could cover your baby's face and suffocate him. And unfortunately, such tragedies are on the rise: In 2010, more than 600 infants died because they accidentally suffocated or strangled in bed, and the rate has more than doubled since 2000.
The actual number could be even higher because soft toys and bedding may also play a role in some of the more than 2,000 SIDS-related deaths each year.
The safest option is to keep your baby's crib free of clutter, including stuffed toys and "lovies."
After his first birthday, your baby's risk of dying from SIDS goes down significantly. The likelihood of suffocation also diminishes because most 12-month-olds are able to roll over, sit up, and move objects away from their face.
After 12 months, it's okay for your baby to bring a special toy or blanket to bed for comfort, but it's still safest to keep his crib relatively empty – so don't give your child a pillow until he has transitioned from the crib to a bed.