When the bedroom is too hot or too cold, it's hard to get a good night’s sleep. This is as true for babies as it is for adults. Finding the right room temperature for your baby is important to keeping them safe and healthy.
The Best Room Temperature for Babies
Your baby can’t put into words how they feel, so it’s up to you as a parent to find the right room temperature for them. You don’t want your baby’s room to be either too hot or too cold. It's recommended that the best temperature for babies is between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 to 22 degrees Celsius.
Babies are more sensitive to changes in room temperature because they're so small and their bodies are still growing. By around 11 weeks, though, babies’ bodies start to regulate their temperature at night just like older humans do. Within four hours of bedtime, babies reach a minimum core body temperature of 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can monitor the temperature in your baby’s room with an indoor thermometer if the room doesn’t have a thermostat. However, it’s not necessary to constantly monitor the temperature or to keep the heating or cooling running throughout the night if your baby is properly dressed for the weather.
Both babies and toddlers feel comfortable at the same room temperature as adults do. Sometimes your baby will need an extra layer, but you should dress your baby the same way that you dress yourself: not too hot and not too cold.
Why the Right Temperature Is Important
Lots of parents think that they need to keep their baby bundled and extra warm, but this isn’t really true. It’s crucial that your baby has a stable temperature that isn’t too hot or cold. In fact, the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) goes up if your baby becomes too hot. Children are at risk of SIDS throughout their toddler years, but the highest risk is within the first six months of life.
Overheating is linked to SIDS, so it’s important that you don’t bundle your baby too tightly in the winter. Try to keep their room cool in the months when the temperature outside is higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. There's some evidence that suggests that high environmental temperatures are also linked to SIDS.
Is Baby Too Hot or Cold?
In the beginning, it might be hard to tell if your baby is too hot or cold. Follow these steps to help you figure out the ideal temperature for your little bundle of joy:
Is Baby Too Hot?
To check if your baby is too warm, touch the nape of their neck to see if it's sweaty. Babies usually don’t sweat the same way that adults do, but sweat on the neck can indicate that they're too hot.
You can also try putting your hand on your baby’s chest or ears to test the temperature of their skin. Avoid checking their hands and feet, as they will always feel cooler than the rest of your baby’s body. Your baby’s skin might be flushed, or they might be irritable if they're too hot.
Is Baby Too Cold?
It’s a bit easier to know when your baby is too cold. Their hands and feet may turn slightly blue, which is normal for infants. Their fingers and toes will feel quite cold to the touch, and your baby may even shiver. To warm themselves up, babies have to burn extra calories that they can’t spare.
How to Regulate Your Baby’s Temperature
Many parents swaddle or wrap up their baby to sleep, but it’s not necessary. Too many blankets and wrapping your baby too tightly increases their risk of SIDS. Instead, opt for minimal bedding in their crib, and consider using a lightweight sleep sack to keep them comfortable. Never use hot water bottles or electric blankets in your baby’s crib.
In Warmer Months
When the outside temperature is warm, your baby doesn’t need to wear as much clothing. Consider using a fan in their room to circulate the air, but don’t point it directly at the baby. Studies also show that using a fan in your baby’s room can reduce the risk of SIDS.
If it's safe to do so, you can keep the window or door of your baby’s room open to let in some fresh air and keep them cool.
In Cooler Months
When the weather cools down, use light, breathable blankets that only come up to your baby’s chest, or a light sleep sack. If you fold the blanket in half, that can count as two blankets. Make sure that their head is uncovered to reduce the risk of SIDS.