While choosing a baby blanket may not seem like a very difficult job, there are things that make a baby blanket unique. Without these unique properties, any blanket would do. There are conveniences and other improvements designed into baby blankets that make them especially suited for babies, particularly newborns.
First, a baby blanket is usually made of the softest cotton or synthetic materials. These materials help protect a baby's delicate skin. Newborn babies can often receive scratches from materials that most people would not consider to be very abrasive at all. Finding a soft baby blanket will help keep the baby's skin in good condition.
Also, because a baby's immune system is still under development, it may react harshly to perceived threats that really are not threats at all. This is the reason why babies have more allergies and tend to "grow out" of them. Baby products, in general, are designed to cope with this. A baby blanket is usually hypo-allergenic to reduce the risk of a bad reaction from the material. While such a blanket will not cut down all allergic reactions in all children, it will cut down on the majority of them.
A good baby blanket will be breathable. In many cases, keeping the baby warm is only one of the primary purposes of a baby blanket. The other purpose is to keep the baby swaddled tightly. Traditional blankets, which are not designed for swaddling, may quickly make the baby overheated. Nearly all babies will act better when swaddled, as it gives them a feeling of security, much like they may have experienced in the womb. Some baby blankets also have a covering at the top for the head, which helps keep the baby from losing heat from the one location on the body where most heat is lost.
If used properly, a baby blanket may become one of the most well used baby products a new parent will ever have. However, like nearly anything else around babies, there are some hazards all parents should avoid. First, baby blankets should never be placed loosely over a baby. This poses a suffocation risk. Second, when swaddling with a baby blanket it is important to remember not to swaddle the baby too tightly. This could cut off circulation or even break bones. However, these injuries are very rare and baby blankets are considered a very safe and necessary addition to any new nursery.