Thermostat control in my home is akin to claiming ownership over the nuclear football. It is a sacred position and just like in real life, only the most delicate flower in charge should have control of it. Therefore, that power lies with me. With great power comes great responsibility, and that means keeping everyone comfortable and cozy. If you have a baby, this issue becomes even more fraught with concerns over safety and health. So what temperature should you keep your house in the winter if you have a baby? Science has a pretty easy answer.
According to the a study completed in 2001, babies who slept at higher temperatures had a harder time waking up than those who slept in cooler rooms, placing them at a greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Babies fall in and out of the sleep/wake cycle all day, so it's important to keep their room — or wherever they sleep — at a fairly constant temperature. Their room, according to the study, should be no warmer than 65 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit, arguing that babies actually sleep better and more predictably at lower temperatures than higher. Because the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended babies stay in their parents' room for a period of six months to one year, you may find that you need to buy an extra blanket or two for yourself if you tend to get chilly.
I know, 65 sounds really cold. Seeing as how I'm home alone right now and have the thermostat set to 72, it seems really cold. It doesn't matter that I have it set that warmly because I like to work in my shorts and tank top, it still seems cold. But think about it — when you're tucked in all cozy, super warm under blankets or by the fire, how easy are you to rouse? I bet just thinking about it, you can feel the heaviness in your limbs and accompanying indolence. There's a big difference between your torpor and your child's, though. You are fully developed and can do crazy things like roll over and sit up. Babies? Not so much.
The AAP also recommended circulating air around your baby at all times, especially where they sleep. Babies who sleep with a fan in their room are significantly less likely to die of SIDS than those who don't. Also, anecdotally, babies who sleep with fans will become children who have to sleep with fans pointed right at their faces no matter what time of year it is. If said fan does something crazy like dies in the middle of the night, all hell will break loose, there will likely be tears (yours and theirs) and someone will be trekking to the 24-hour Home Depot in Union Square at 11:30 p.m. just to replace a freaking fan because Walgreens are all sold out. This is a thing that happens.
I found that I can keep my home warmer, but maintain a constant 66 degrees in my kids' rooms, by keeping their vents partially closed. If I have the oven on, I may even crack their window a bit, but I try not to do that too often because I don't want to start another trend like the aforementioned fan. Plus, I'm reasonably certain that's bad for the environment to run so much more heat than you need to in your home just so your little one's rooms have a breeze. However, that's completely unavoidable when I'm baking. Snickerdoodles wait for no man.
Try keeping a thermometer in your baby's room if you're unsure what the temperature in there is. I know I have to because it always feels too cold, despite my children sleeping comfortably. As long as their torso is warm to the touch, and their limbs are cooler, you know they're doing alright, according to New Kids Center. As for my room now that it's baby free? I'd like to say it's warm and toasty, but my husband keeps it at roughly the same temp as a meat locker. At least I have warm socks.
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