What Is the Ideal Room & Home Temperature for a Newborn?

Baby sleeping in crib

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Bringing a new baby home can be both joyful and stressful—especially when it comes to creating a comfortable and safe sleeping environment. Aside from making sure you put your baby on their back to sleep, it's also important to consider the temperature of the room where your baby will be sleeping.

A chilly nursery can make your baby fussy and bring their body temperature too low. Meanwhile, an overheated bedroom may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), especially if your baby is sleeping in warm clothes or over bundled. Ideally, your baby's room should be between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Importance of Baby Room Temperature

Regulating the temperature of your baby's room is an important step in the prevention of SIDS and ensuring that your baby sleeps safely. While there are a number of factors associated with SIDS, this syndrome is largely associated with overheating. In fact, studies have shown that overheating in the winter months increases the likelihood of SIDS.

Broadly speaking, SIDS occurs when a baby is unable to wake when something goes wrong physiologically. Consequently, instead of crying out in distress, an overheated baby will more likely remain silent.

By the time parents arrive to rouse their baby, the problem may have already progressed to a crisis situation. Because higher temperatures make it make difficult for a baby to wake up to external stimuli, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you maintain your baby's room at lower temperatures and avoid overdressing them when putting them to bed.

Keep in mind that premature babies have an especially difficult time regulating their body temperature and are at an increased risk for SIDS. So, it's especially important your pay close attention to the temperature of their room and to dress them appropriately.

Maintaining the Ideal Temperature for Sleep

Most pediatricians recommend that you keep your baby's room between 68 to 72 degrees. But just because the thermostat in the main part of the house says 72 degrees, does not mean that baby's room is the same temperature.

Although you can measure the temperature in your baby's room with a room sensor (and some video baby monitors now offer this feature), maintaining a constant temperature that is comfortable for adults in normal clothing also is sufficient. If you feel chilly or too warm, then the temperature probably isn't appropriate for your baby.

To make temperature monitoring easier, you might consider room-sharing with your baby. In fact, the AAP recommends placing a crib or bassinet that has a firm mattress and conforms to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's standards in your room ideally for the first year, but at least for the first six months of your baby's life.

To maintain the appropriate room temperature for your baby, you'll likely have to heat the house in winter and cool it in summer while dressing your baby appropriately for the temperature.

Tips During Warm Weather

The following are some suggestions for dealing with warmer temperatures in the summer:

  • Aim to keep your home, and specifically the room where your baby sleeps,
    at or below 72 degrees. Temperatures of up to 75 degrees, however, may
    be acceptable in very hot climates, but make sure to dress your baby
    appropriately.
  • Avoid placing your baby directly in the air stream if you have air conditioning, as it tends to be extra cold.
  • Dress your baby in lighter baby clothing.
  • Open the bedroom door and a window if it is safe to do so.
  • Refrain from aiming a fan directly at your baby.

Tips During Cold Weather

Similarly, in colder months, you should help your baby maintain a consistent temperature. The following are some suggestions for dealing with colder temperatures during the winter:

  • Avoid putting a hat on your baby while indoors as the head is important
    in regulating body temperature; babies cannot cool down as easily with a
    hat on and there is a risk it could fall down over your baby's face.
  • Dress your baby in one extra layer than what you are wearing yourself (but be sure to never over bundle your baby).
  • Keep comforters, quilts, and blankets out of the crib as your baby may accidentally slip underneath one and become overheated or suffocate.
  • Refrain from placing a space heater near your baby and don't allow heat to blow directly on them.

How to Dress Your Newborn for Bedtime

When it comes to dressing your baby for bed, remember that simple is best and safest. Dress your baby in a base layer like a onesie or a one-piece sleeper and skip the hats, socks, and other accessories.

The AAP recommends that babies be lightly clothed for sleep and that the room temperature is kept comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.

Generally speaking, you should dress your baby with one more layer than what you are wearing in the same environment. So, if you are wearing a sweater and jeans in the winter, you might dress your baby in a onesie and a warm sleeper that fits well. It's important that you not overdress your baby.

Likewise, the AAP also recommends that you not use loose blankets in cribs. As a result, many parents opt for sleepsacks or wearable blankets, especially in the winter months. To determine which sleepsack is best for your baby, look at the product's thermal overall grade (TOG), which indicates how many blankets the sleepsack is equivalent to.

For instance, sleepsacks with a TOG of 1.2 or lower are recommended for use in the spring and summer while those with ratings of 2 to 2.5 or higher are recommended for fall and winter. Likewise, you should dress your baby for bed in one more layer than you would use in the same room. For most babies, this includes a onesie and a sleepsack or a sleeper that fits appropriately.

Once you put your baby down to sleep, check on them periodically to be sure they are not too hot or too cold. You may have to adjust what your baby wears to bed until you find something that works for your baby and your home environment. And, if your baby's skin ever feels hot, clammy, or sweaty, remove one or more layers of clothing as needed.

Signs That Your Baby Is Too Hot or Too Cold

Babies don't have the ability to regulate their body temperature like adults do so it's important for parents to recognize and respond to cues that their baby is overheating or too cold.

Keep in mind, when babies are too warm, they are more likely to become restless, which impacts their sleep—and yours.

To check to see if your baby is too warm or too cold, take two fingers and feel around the nape of the neck and the ears. If your baby's ears are red or hot or if the nape of the neck is warm and sweaty, your baby is too hot.

Change your baby into lighter clothing, cool the room, or both. If you are particularly concerned that your baby is too hot, offer your baby formula or breastmilk for hydration in addition to moving to a cooler room. You can even give your baby a sponge-bath in lukewarm water to cool them down.

Contact your doctor if your baby is vomiting, has a fever, or shows a change in mood such as being irritable, cranky, or even lethargic. And, call 911 immediately if your baby appears dizzy or is unresponsive.

As for a baby that is too cold, you can check them in much the same way. Feel the nape of their neck, their ears, and even their hands and feet. Although babies' hands and feet are usually cooler than the rest of the body, especially in the newborn stage, extremely cold hands and feet could be an indicator that your baby is too cold.

A cold baby also will usually have paler skin than normal; and their skin may have a mottled appearance. They also may start to sneeze, get fussy, or may even become very still and quiet. Pay attention to your baby's actions and if anything seems out of the ordinary, you may want to check to see if they are too hot or too cold. And don't hesitate to contact your doctor if you're concerned.

A Word From Verywell

If you're like most parents, you probably worry that your baby is going to get cold without a blanket, especially during the winter months. But research has shown that babies sleep better when they are not overdressed or too warm. Plus, keeping them cool reduces the chance of SIDS. So avoid cranking up the heat or overdressing your baby.

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