How do I keep my baby safe and warm?

After reading about infant safe sleep practices, many parents are concerned about the winter months and how they can keep their baby warm without using blankets or dressing their babies in layers.  Putting multiple layers on your child may seem like a good idea at first, but ultimately can lead to devastating consequences.

Piling on the layers, can lead to overheating your child which is a contributing factor to infant sleep related deaths. In this section we have detailed how to avoid overheating your child and the best way to keep your child warm during those cold nights.

Rule #1: Dress Your Baby Appropriately for the Environment

Make sure your baby is dressed appropriately for their environment and does not have too many layers on. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2016), an infant should not wear more than 1 layer more than what an adult would need to be comfortable in that same environment.

Rule #2: Avoid Hats and Other Head Coverings

We have all heard the saying, “you lose most of your body heat through your head,” however; to keep your baby warm, it is best not to take this advice during sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents avoid hats and head coverings of any kind to avoid overheating. Hats and head coverings have been found to increase the risk of sleep-related deaths.

Rule #3: Do Not Use Blankets

After reading the safe sleep guidelines many parents know not to put blankets into their child’s cribs to avoid suffocation and strangulation. However, blankets are also linked to overheating deaths because parents put on too many trying their best to make sure the baby is kept warm throughout the night.

What can I do to keep my baby warm?

If you can’t use regular blankets or use hats to keep your baby warm, what can you do? The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using the safest alternatives to blankets, wearable blankets, otherwise knowns as sleep sacks. Wearable blankets keep your baby safe because they greatly reduce the risk of suffocation and entrapment caused by regular blankets. Because of the way wearable blankets are designed, they cannot get wrapped around your baby’s head or neck. So, they keep your baby safe at night, while also keeping them warm.

Additionally, you can be mindful of room temperature. The American Academy of Pediatrics cannot recommend an exact room temperature due to varying research results. However, we still tell parents to set their baby’s room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees (F) as a common sense practice. We feel that at this temperature range, parents and caregivers will not feel the need to put on too many layers of clothing or coverings and will be content using lightweight clothing or sleep sacks.