Snug as a bug

Well-chosen bedding can do much to improve your child’s sleep
By Tamlyn Vincent

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There’s more to choosing linen than matching the duvet to the lampshade, or finding themed sheets to go with your child’s fluffy pillows. Marion Cleaver, from Hammond Kids in Cape Town, suggests some important factors to consider.
 
Babies
 
  • Choose linen that is 100% cotton. Other fabrics may cause your baby to sweat and aren’t as healthy.
  • Use a mattress that fits securely into the cot and has ventilation holes. Make sure to air any mattress once a week.
  • Use elasticated fitted sheets that won’t come loose. Look for prewashed or high quality sheets that won’t shrink in the wash.
  • Babies need bedding that keeps them at a comfortable temperature. Opt for a cotton blanket or sheet that can be tucked in snugly under your baby’s arms.
  • Avoid using a duvet for babies. Soft blankets, pillows and cuddly toys are also a suffocation risk. If you do have these on the cot, remove them when it’s time to sleep.
  • Cot bumpers can be a hazard. If you do decide to use one, make sure it is breathable and ties securely onto the cot. Alternatively, look for individual slat bumpers.
 
Toddlers
 
  • Children can start using a pillow and duvet from about 18 months, or when they move into a bed.
  • Comfort and durability are still important, and Marion advises choosing cotton as it is easily washable and durable.
  • Choose a high quality mattress and keep it in a good condition by getting a mattress protector. Marion suggests a cotton casing that is waterproof but also breathes easily.
  • Fitted sheets are a good idea as toddlers move around a lot while they sleep.
  • Get several changes of bedding, especially once you start night -time potty training.
 
Children
 
  • As with babies and toddlers, use high quality, durable bed linen.
  • Children may spend a lot of time in their room and on their beds, so keep the mattress protector on in case of accidental spills or illness.
  • If they want to create a theme or use certain colours, suggest bedding that will satisfy their need for creativity without compromising its quality.
 
Sensitive skin
 
Some babies and children may react to the fabric of their bedding, the detergent you’re using, or to dust mites in their rooms. Signs that can indicate a reaction include itchy or red skin, a rash, sneezing, watering eyes, dry tight skin or eczema. A runny nose, wheezing, asthma or sinus trouble may also suggest dust mites. There are some ways to help alleviate these problems:
 
  • Find out what is causing the reaction.
  • Follow the washing instructions provided on their bedding.
  • Use hypoallergenic or nonbiological washing powder, and avoid enzyme-enriched and perfumed detergents.
  • Use dust mite covers, and look for linen, rugs and curtains that can be machine-washed.
  • Avoid having too many pillows or stuffed animals on the bed.
  • Use high quality bedding that is nonallergenic and dust mite-proof.
  • Some children may have a reaction to down so if necessary replace these with cotton duvet and pillow inserts. 

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