If you're a parent, like me, you may get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information on sleep safety. It's great information is available, but what do you do when reliable sources contradict themselves? As parents wrestle with all the ways to help baby sleep, it's common for most to consider a sleep sack as a safe alternative to crib bumpers. But can a baby get overheated in a sleep sack? After all, alternatives are great until they start presenting potential problems of their own.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) parents should make sure that babies don't "get too hot" when sleeping, and keeping the room at a "comfortable temperature" helps reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). But what is "too hot" and how do parents measure the undeniably subjective instruction of a "comfortable temperature"?
The AAP tells us parents that baby should never wear more than one additional layer than we ourselves feel comfortable wearing for the specific room temperature. What To Expect, when talking about protecting babies in extreme heat, tells us to look out for signs of overheating, including, "being very warm to the touch (more than how your baby’s typically-warm belly feels), extreme thirst, sweating profusely, acting very tired or weak and showing a general lack of energy." If you see any of those signs, it's safe to assume your baby is in danger of, or already, overheating.
Now that the signs of overheating and other red flags to look out for have been highlighted, it's worthwhile to ask oneself if there are any reports of babies overheating in a sleep sack. One brand site, the Halo Sleep Sack, claims that babies are kept from overheating by the sleeveless arms of the sleep sack and the ability for parents to adjust what the baby wears under the sack and depending on the room temperature. In other words, if it's hot in baby's bedroom, don't use the fleece sleep sack and let the baby wear a diaper, and a diaper only, under the sleep sack itself.
There doesn't appear to be any hard and fast rule about overheating in a sleep sack. Using "a wearable blanket" is casually included as a safe sleep option in the AAP safe sleep guidelines. So, like any other article of clothing for a baby, parents should use common sense and follow general safety guidelines when laying their baby down to sleep and/or take a nap, like the aforementioned diaper only option, to prevent your baby from overheating.