Creating a safe and comfortable sleep environment is one of the first things us parents do for our babies. While that space should always meet the latest guidelines from pediatricians and experts, it can be modified (within reason) depending on circumstances, travel plans, and outside influences. So, during the summer months when temperatures rise, it's important to know how to keep your baby from overheating at night and in an way that still provides your little one with a safe, relaxing space to catch some oh-so necessary Zs.
A good rule of thumb is to think about your own comfort level when trying to assess if your baby is too hot or too cold. If you feel chilly or overheated, chances are your baby does, too. If you would like a more precise bedroom temperature recommendation to help you make sure your baby is comfortable, The Baby Sleep Site cites anywhere between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (or 18.3 to 21.1 Celsius) as the ideal temperature for a baby's sleep space.
Ensuring your baby is at the right temperature can be a little tricky, though, and especially since experts agree that parents should not use any loose bedding, such as blankets or covers, in a baby's crib and/or sleeping environment. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges parents "avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows, and soft toys. The crib should be bare."
The National Institute of Health (NIH) mirrors the AAP's recommendations, going onto say that blankets pose a significant risk of not only suffocation, but overheating. Sadly, overheating can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), so the NIH provides a specific set of guidelines for parents to follow, during the winter months and when most are prone to adding a blanket or two to their babies' cribs:
"In cold weather, parents and caregivers often place extra blankets or clothes on infants to keep them warm. But over-bundling may cause infants to overheat, increasing their risk for SIDS."
If your baby's room is at the correct temperature, but you're still concerned about their temperature, the NIH encourages parents to skip blanket and, instead, use a swaddle, sleep sack, or wearable blanket.
In the summer, however, and when parents are less concerned with their babies being too cold and more concerned with their babies overheating, the AAP offers the following advice for keeping your baby at the right temperature:
"Keep the room where your baby sleeps at a comfortable temperature. In general, dress your baby in no more than one extra layer than you would wear. Your baby may be too hot if [they are] sweating or if [their] chest feels hot."
The best advice is to keep your sleeping areas at an even temperature, don't overdress your baby for sleep, and check your own comfort level to see if you need to add another layer to your baby's sleeping attire.