Overheating may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in babies 1 month to 1 year of age. Many experts recommend that the temperature in the room where a baby’s sleeps be kept between 68 and 72 degrees F (20–22.2° C). Although most bedrooms don’t have their own thermostats, an indoor thermometer can help you track the room temperature.
A good rule of thumb is to keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. If the room is too cold for you, it is too cold for your baby. If it is too warm for you, it is too warm for your baby.
The safest place for your baby to sleep is on his back. But there’s more you need to know to keep your baby safe while asleep.
- Put your baby to sleep in close proximity to you for the first six months of life. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this will help reduce his risk of SIDS. Many parents place their baby’s crib in their room during this time.
- Watch for signs of overheating. If you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, rapid breathing, and/or restless sleep, your baby may be too hot.
- Skip soft bedding or objects in your baby’s sleep space for at least the first year of life. This includes stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, comforters, and more. If you feel you must use a blanket, use a lightweight, breathable blanket and make sure it is tucked under the bottom of the mattress, extending no higher than the middle of your baby’s chest.
- Avoid overbundling. A sleep sack that zips onto your baby is a popular, blanketless option if you feel your baby needs an additional light layer over his pajamas. Be particularly cautious if your baby is sick. Sick babies tend to have fevers, and added layers may further increase his body temperature.
- Consider using a fan. The use of a fan in the baby’s room may reduce the risk of SIDS by circulating the air and lowering the baby’s risk of “re-breathing.” (This won’t make the room colder; fans do not cool the air but simply move it around. As long as your child is not perspiring, he won’t feel a chill.)