Colder months can be difficult for families. It can lead to difficult decisions between heating and eating. It can be tempting to wrap your baby up to keep them warm. Overheating a baby increases the chances of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Research shows babies are better to be cooler rather than overheated. Below are some things to consider for your baby and their sleep space during the colder months.
Bedding for Cots and Moses Baskets:
- If you are use sheets or blankets, use layers rather than thick, padded blankets or a duvet.
- Do not use duvets for babies under 12 months.
- If you think your baby is cold, add an extra blanket or layer of clothing to your baby.
- Sheets and blankets should be firmly tucked in (not higher than the shoulders). This will avoid the risk of your baby’s head becoming covered by loose bedding. Babies’ heads are an important way of them losing heat.
- If you are using a baby sleeping bag, do not add extra blankets on top of this.
- Check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the baby sleeping bag that you choose.
- The safest place for a baby to sleep in is a clear, safe sleep space in the same room as you for daytime and night time sleeps.
Bedding and Bedsharing:
- We don’t recommend loose bedding so a baby sleeping bag is advisable when bedsharing. A high proportion of infants who die as a result of SIDS had their head covered by loose bedding.
- You can choose different togs for different seasons. This will help keep your baby at the right temperature.
- Keep all adult bedding or any other items away from the baby when bedsharing.
- Don’t put your baby under adult bedding to keep them warm. Remember that the warmth generated by an adult in the same bed as a baby may create a warmer environment. Adjust bedding and/or clothing for your baby.
- Avoid letting pets or other children in the bed with your baby.
- Make sure your baby won’t fall out of bed or get trapped between the mattress and the wall.
When NOT to Co-Sleep:
There are some times in which co-sleeping with your baby can be very dangerous. If:
- Either you or your partner smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom)
- Either you or your partner has drunk alcohol or taken drugs. This includes medications that may make you drowsy.
- Your baby was born premature (before 37 weeks)
- Your baby was born at a low weight (2.5kg or 5½ lbs or less)
You should never sleep together with your baby if any of the above points apply to you or your partner.
Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby, this can increase the risk of SIDS by 50 times.
Don’t use hot water bottles in any baby sleep space (cot, crib, Moses basket or adult bed) as it can make your baby too hot.
The safest place to sleep your baby is on a flat, firm surface, with no soft or thick padding or bedding around them. Anything with raised sides or cushioned areas might pose a risk. It can also lead to overheating.
We don’t recommend the following:
- COT BUMPERS. They can pose the risk of an accident to babies and toddlers.
- BABIES SLEEPING IN HATS, HOODS OR OUTDOOR CLOTHING. Babies lose heat through their heads so remove hats or hoods when indoors or in a car so they don’t overheat.
- WEIGHTED BLANKETS. These can increase the risk of overheating. Weighted blankets may also restrict a baby (either breathing or positioning).
- PLACING YOUR BABY’S COT NEXT TO A RADIATOR OR HAVING A HEAT SOURCE DIRECTLY AIMED AT YOUR BABY. Babies are unable to regulate their temperature so could end up getting too hot.
Wherever your baby’s sleep space is, keep it clear, keep it simple, keep it safe.
All babies are different. Check your baby’s chest and/or back of their neck. Make sure that their skin doesn’t feel clammy or sweaty to the touch. Their hands and feet will always feel cold to touch.
Warm is fine, but if it feels sweaty or clammy it means they are too hot so remove a layer of bedding or clothing. Babies who are unwell need fewer, not more layers. Always seek medical advice if you are worried about your baby.