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How to dress baby for sleep in summer

Get the lowdown on what your baby should wear to sleep and how to tell if they're too hot or cold

baby sleeping winter
Chloe Best
Chloe BestLifestyle Features Editor
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Knowing how to dress your baby for sleep during the summer can be challenging for parents who want to ensure their little one sleeps safe and sound when the temperature rises – and may be concerned when it is all but impossible to bring their room temperature down within the ideal range of 16-20°C.

So just what is the best thing to choose and what tog sleeping bag should you opt for – if any? We've got the answers to all your sleep questions from Kate Holmes, Head of Support and Information at The Lullaby Trust.

WATCH: The Parent and Baby Coach shares her top sleep tips for children

How to dress baby for sleep in summer

"To reduce the chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) the ideal temperature of a baby's room should be 16-20°C. However, keeping rooms from getting too hot can be difficult during the summer months or when away somewhere warm," Kate says.

"If the room where your baby sleeps is difficult to cool, lighter bedding and clothing such as a low tog sleeping bag or a thin sheet can be a good choice to keep your baby from getting too hot. Baby sleeping bags advise what tog to use for each season or temperature, so that can be handy to use as a guide."

A close up of a baby's feet© iStock
Babies may be able to sleep in just a vest or nappy in hot weather

She continues: "However, every baby is different, and it's important to keep an eye on them for signs of overheating. Feel your baby's chest or the back of their neck (your baby's hands and feet will usually be cooler, which is normal). If their skin is hot or sweaty, remove one or more layers of bedclothes or bedding. In really hot weather it's fine for your baby to sleep in a short sleeve vest or just a nappy."

What should baby wear to sleep in the winter?

"We know that the colder months can be difficult for families and we understand it can be tempting to wrap your baby up to keep them warm while they sleep. However, we know that overheating increases the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and research shows that it's better for babies to be cooler rather than too hot." Kate explains.

RELATED: When do babies start sleeping through the night?

"To reduce the risk of overheating, avoid using thick bedding and duvets and remove any outdoor clothing and hats when you are indoors," she adds.

Baby in cot© Photo: iStock

Research shows it is better for babies to be cooler rather than too hot when they're sleeping

"During the winter, firmly tucked in sheets and blankets (not above shoulder height) or a well-fitted baby sleeping bag are fine for babies to sleep in.

"If you are using a baby sleeping bag, do not be tempted to add extra blankets on top of this. Choose a higher tog sleeping bag for cooler temperatures, and add an extra layer of bedclothes if your baby is still cold. Do not use hot water bottles, microwavable wheat bags or electric blankets in any baby sleep space (cot, crib, Moses basket or adult bed) as these could cause your baby to overheat."

Sleeping Bags, John Lewis

Pack of 2 Sleeping Bags, 2.5 tog, from £24, John Lewis


How can I check if my baby is too warm?

"Every baby is different, and it’s important to regularly check your baby for signs they are getting too hot or too cold. If your baby is too hot, the back of their neck or their chest will feel sweaty or clammy and a layer of bedclothes or bedding should be removed to try and cool them down," Kate recommends.

MORE: 4 reasons why your baby won't stop crying and how to fix it

SHOP: 6 of the best cot beds for your newborn

How do I know if my baby is too cold at night?

Baby sleeping in bed© Photo: iStock

Feeling your babies neck or chest is the best way to check their temperature

"Feeling your baby's hands or feet is not a reliable way to monitor their temperature, as they will always feel colder than the rest of their body," Kate says. Instead, check their neck or chest, and if you notice that your baby is too cool, then add an extra layer of clothing.

MORE: 8 of the best bedside cribs for safe sleeping alongside my baby

What temperature should a baby's room be?

The recommended room temperature for a baby is 16-20 degrees, which may be difficult to maintain in warmer months. While it can be tempting to use extra layers or heating to keep your baby warm, you should never place their cot directly next to a radiator or have another heat source, like a portable heater, directly aimed at them. Babies are unable to regulate their temperature, so may get too hot and are unable to move out of the way of the heat source.

Gro Egg2

Tommee Tippee Groegg Digital Room Thermometer, £30, Argos


For more information on creating a safe sleep environment for babies visit The Lullaby Trust.

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