Keeping your home safe is no doubt a priority — especially if you have a baby. This is why you take the time to babyproof with stair gates, cover electrical outlets, and make a concerted effort to keep chemicals out of their reach. Children don’t understand danger, so the more precautions you take, the better.
Likewise, you also take steps to create a safe sleeping environment. This not only ensures a good night’s rest for everyone, it can also prevent fatal sleep accidents and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Keeping your baby’s room cool, but comfortable is one way to maintain a safe sleep environment. In fact, it’s recommended that babies sleep in a temperature between 68° and 72°F (20° to 22.2°C).
Here’s what you need to know about room temperatures for your baby, as well as tips to properly dress your baby for sleep.
Maintaining a safe room temperature for your baby is important because it reduces the risk of overheating, which has been linked to SIDS.
But even if you know what temperature to keep your baby’s room, it might be hard to gauge whether your baby is actually comfortable. The best way to gauge their comfort level is to consider how you feel in the room.
Many adults also sleep better in a cool, yet comfortable room. Being too hot — which can result from a high temperature setting or sleeping under heavy blankets — can cause sweating at night. This can be uncomfortable and wake you up.
If this is uncomfortable for you, imagine how your little one feels. So as a general rule, if the bedroom temperature is comfortable for you, it’s most likely comfortable for your baby too, and vice versa.
Most adults and babies feel cool but comfortable at the recommended temperature of 68° and 72°F (20° to 22.2°C), especially when appropriately dressed.
SIDS is the unexplained death of a child under the age of 1 year. These deaths usually occur during sleep. It’s believed that being too hot raises a baby’s risk. According to research, being overheated can lead to a deep sleep, from which it’s difficult to wake.
In addition to keeping your child’s sleeping room at a comfortable temperature be sure not to overdress your baby with heavy layers of clothing.
The best way to keep your baby’s room at the right temperature is to monitor your thermostat. Turning the temperature down helps keep the space cooler and comfortable. This can help your baby sleep better and safer.
Keep in mind that while your home’s thermostat controls the temperature of the entire home, the temperature in each individual room might be slightly different. A number of factors can affect room temperature.
For example, a bedroom with many windows or older windows might be unable to maintain the same temperature as the rest of the house. And if there are problems with the duct work in a room, cool air and heat might not flow easily in these rooms. In addition, poor insulation can change the temperature in certain rooms.
It’s a good idea to use an indoor thermometer to measure the temperature in your baby’s room, especially since the temperature in your bedroom might be cooler or warmer than the temperature in your baby’s room.
For this reason, you might also consider having your baby sleep in your room during their early months — but not in the bed with you.
Safe sleep tips to prevent SIDS
Adult beds aren’t safe for infants, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). But you can place a crib or bassinet in your bedroom, allowing your child to sleep nearby for the first 6 to 12 months.
The AAP reports that sharing a bedroom with parents can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent. The exact reason for this is unknown, but it might have something to do with parents being able to keep a close eye on their baby.
Also, background noise in the bedroom can prevent deep sleep in infants. Deep sleep may also contribute to SIDS.
Along with having your baby sleep in the room with you, you can take other precautions to prevent SIDS:
- Put baby to sleep on their back.
- Remove thick padding, stuffed toys, and thick blankets from the crib to prevent suffocation.
- Offer your baby a pacifier for naps and at bedtime.
- Use a firm crib mattress.
- Maintain a smoke-free home and limit smoke exposure to baby.
Guidelines from the AAP note that breastfeeding is associated with reduced risk of SIDS. Breastfeeding doesn’t work for everyone, but if you can nurse or pump exclusively for 6 months, it can be beneficial.
Finally, the AAP says that keeping up with regular child immunizations might help reduce the risk of SIDS.
More tips for maintaining ideal temperature
As far as keeping your baby’s room cool and comfortable, you can use a fan to reduce the risk of overheating. Point the fan upwards toward the ceiling instead of directly at your baby.
If you’re worried about your baby being too cool at night, turn up the heat slightly, and then monitor the temperature in their room.
Knowing how to dress your baby for sleep can be tricky. The important thing to remember, though, is that how you feel inside the bedroom is likely how your baby feels.
If heavy pajamas and sleeping under a heavy blanket makes you uncomfortable and sweaty, these extra layers will affect your baby, too.
Signs that your baby is too warm include flushing, sweating, or breathing heavily. If the temperature in your house increases at night, check on your baby to make sure they’re comfortable.
Gently touch the back of their head or their belly to see if they’re warm or cool. Some people suggest checking their hands or feet, but this isn’t a reliable way to gauge their body temperature
There is sleepwear designed to help your baby feel more comfortable at night. Rather than covering your baby in pajamas “and” a blanket — which isn’t a safe option — your baby might be comfortable with only footed pajamas or a wearable blanket during the winter. And during the summer, you can choose lighter pajamas, or put your baby in a onesie with socks.
If your baby is sick and has a fever, this can make them warmer. So avoid heavy pajamas until they feel better.
To help keep your baby safe while sleeping — and help ensure a restful night for the whole family! — they should be comfortable, yet cool. So use a thermometer to measure the temperature in the room, and avoid heavy, hot pajamas.
If you feel that your baby’s room doesn’t maintain a comfortable temperature, consider sharing a room with your baby, placing them in a crib or bassinet nearby until they are a little older.