The standard recommendation by pediatricians is that a pillow not be given to children under the age of 2 years. However, there are some children who may begin needing some nighttime lift earlier than that and then others who aren't ready for one until even later. Unless you feel they are needing something to sleep on earlier than 24 months (usually indicating this by sleeping on their arm, a blanket or stuffed toy), it's best to wait until the recommended age before introducing them to one. Then be sure to give them time to use it as they feel the physical need. If you feel they are needing one sooner, just be sure to double check with your pediatrician first.
One tip doctors have for those using a pillow in a crib with babies under the recommended 24 months is to put the pillow UNDER the sheet. Not only does this keeps the pillow in place but also minimizes the SIDS risk.
Also know that a pillow may not be necessary all night in the beginning. Some parents have asked us if there is a problem because their toddler is off the pillow by morning, wondering if the pillow is too high or too small. It is quite normal for children first starting out with a pillow not to need the loft all night. Every child is different so be careful not to jump into a larger size if this happens at the outset. Pediatricians do not recommend giving a toddler an adult size pillow; the loft is simply too much for them. Read more on that here.
A Little Pillow Company's 13" x 19" Toddler Pillow has been specifically designed as the perfect starter pillow for a toddler, giving your child the size and loft appropriate for their little bodies and necks! It is hypoallergenic, machine-washable and comes in a Regular, Custom Loft and Organic option. And starting at just $18 it really is an excellent choice for your child's first pillow! (You may buy it here on our website or Amazon.)
If you are interested in other baby and toddler related products, check out the Parent Guide, where you will find a large assortment of items and good reviews.