How to keep your baby sleeping safely in cold weather
What temperature should your baby's room be – and how many layers do they need – when the weather turns cold and icy? We asked an expert from The Lullaby Trust to explain what you need to know
When temperatures drop, you want your baby to be warm at night . It might be tempting to cover them in lots of layers and crank the heating up but it's important to remember that babies can't regulate their body temperature in the same way adults can – so it's easy for them to get too hot, which is a risk factor in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
We spoke to safe sleeping expert Kate Holmes, of the baby safety charity The Lullaby Trust, to explain how to keep your baby warm enough but not at risk of overheating.
Here are her 6 expert cold-weather safe sleeping tips:
1. Know what's a safe temperature your baby's room
The ideal room temperature for your baby is 16°C to 20°C. Having a room thermometer in your baby's nursery is highly advisable, so you can keep an eye on this.
Use light bedding or a lightweight, well-fitting baby sleep bag for your little one and add layers as needed (see below).
2. Adjust layers according to the room temperature
Room temperatures can vary and so you can add or remove layers to ensure your baby is safely warm enough, following the guidelines below.
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If you normally use sheets and blankets and put your baby in a sleepsuit at bedtime, use our video guide (at the top of this article) to see how layers they'll need for each temperature reading (please do remember that all sheets and blankets should be firmly tucked in and not above shoulder height).
You can also check our chart below:
What if your baby sleeps in a baby sleeping bag?
If you prefer to put your baby in a sleeping bag and ditch the sheet and blankets, see our sleeping bag cold-weather video guide, above, to see what you dress your baby in underneath the sleeping bag and/or which Tog sleeping bag is best, according to the temperature in your baby's room.
You can also check our chart below:
3. Check the back of your baby's neck
If you want to make sure you haven't got them in too many layers, the back of the neck, or tummy, give clearer indicators of whether your little one's overheating than their hands or feet do.
"If your baby is too hot," says Kate, "their skin will feel slightly clammy and sweaty, and you will need to remove some layers."
4. Don't put a hat on your baby indoors
You should never put a hat on a baby indoors, even when it's cold, because a bare head is important for maintaining body temperature and releasing heat. (Obviously, if you're taking your baby outside in cold weather, then a baby hat is an important way of keeping them warm.)
5. Don't have the heating on high all night
In super cold weather, it's tempting to turn radiators up to full heat and leave them on as you sleep. But this isn't only expensive, it's not recommended for your baby.
"The house could get too hot overnight while you're asleep," explains Kate. "If you absolutely do feel you want the central heating on through the night, set it no higher than 20°C."
6. Even though it's cold, never put your baby's cot by the radiator
Never place your crib or cot next to a radiator as this could lead to overheating or possible burns if your baby reaches out of their cot and touches the hot radiator surface.
Also, as radiators are often under windows that may have blind cords, moving your baby's cot closer to an under-the-window radiator could present a risk of strangulation.
About our expert Kate Holmes and the Lullaby Trust
Kate Holmes is Head of Support and Information at the Lullaby Trust, the charity that's trying to reduce the number of SIDS deaths, offering parents and carers advice on safe sleep (you can call free on 0808 802 6869) and supporting research in sudden deaths of babies and young children. The Lullaby Trust also supports bereaved families whose baby has died suddenly and unexpectedly (you can call them free on 0808 802 6868).
Pics: Getty Images. Illustrations: Jordan Edmonds-Moore. Video production: Janet Mtima and Emily Longman Wall.
Tara is mum to 1 daughter, Bodhi Rae, and has worked as Content Editor and Social Media Producer at MadeForMums since 2015
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