Is Your Baby Overheating? Signs Your Baby Is Too Hot
You never want your little one to be too hot! If your baby’s overheating, she’s likely to be uncomfortable, her sleep may suffer and she may get heat rash. But, there’s an even more serious concern: Overheating can raise the risk of infant sleep death, also called SIDS.
Studies have shown that thick clothing, too many layers and high room temperatures increase the risk of SIDS. While it may seem counterintuitive, infants are at higher risk of SIDS during the winter months. That’s because parents worry their baby may get cold and they try to prevent that by overdressing them or cranking up the heat.
Normal Infant Temperature
A normal temperature in babies is considered to be around 97.5 degrees fahrenheit (36.4 degrees celsius). Overheating and fevers in babies are considered to be around 100.4 degrees fahrenheit (38 degrees celsius) or above. Keep in mind that normal baby body temperatures can vary in your baby throughout the day.
Is Your Baby Overheating? How to Check...
Luckily, there’s an easy way to tell if your baby is too hot. Touch her ears and neck. If her ears are red and hot and her neck is sweaty, your baby is too warm. Dress her more lightly or cool the room.
Signs of Overheating
Below you’ll find a few signs and symptoms of a baby overheating:
- They feel warm to the touch
- Your baby’s skin is red
- They have a rapid heartbeat
- They have a fever but aren’t sweating
- Your baby is lethargic or unresponsive
- Your baby is vomiting
- Your baby seems dizzy or confused
Ideal Baby Room Temperature
The room should be kept between 68° F to 72°F 9 (20°C to 22.2°C). You can actually measure the room temperature with a thermometer, but in general, the temperature should not be too cool or too warm to an adult.
In hot weather, it’s totally fine to let your baby sleep in just a diaper and light muslin swaddle. Of course, you should not overdress your baby or overheat the room, whether she’s swaddled or not.
Hot Baby Means Restless Baby
If your baby is too warm, she may become restless which can lead to less sleep for her… and you! To avoid that, don’t over-bundle your little bundle for naps or at bedtime with extra layers of clothing or hats. Hats are especially problematic because covering the head reduces the baby’s ability to use the head as a little radiator, giving off extra heat. Also, in the middle of the night, a hat might accidentally slip over your little one’s face and cause breathing difficulties. Never use blankets (a safe crib is a crib free of toys, blankets and all objects except a pacifier) and never use electric blankets or heating pads under your baby. These overheat infants and expose them to electromagnetic radiation.
How Do You Cool Down an Overheated Baby
If you believe your baby is overheating, then here are some steps that you can try to cool down your baby.
- Offer your baby fluids
- Take your baby to a cooler room
- Dress your baby in light clothing
- Sponge your baby in lukewarm/cooler water
- If symptoms do not improve, then contact your pediatrician
Baby Overheating & Heat Rash
Babies develop heat rash when their salty sweat irritates the skin. It most commonly appears on their necks, armpits, chest, back, elbows or thighs. The rash presents as little red dots (irritated hair follicles) and splotchy skin and can be accompanied by fever, chills and bumps. If you think your child has a heat rash, give your doctor a call. She may recommend that you sprinkle on a dusting of cornstarch powder—never talcum—to absorb excess sweat and prevent irritation.
Newborn Overheating vs. Fever
It’s natural to think that your overheated baby may have a fever. To be sure, take your baby’s temperature and consult your healthcare provider if you have any concern. Additionally, the symptoms below are indicators that your baby may have a fever:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Lack of eating
- No interest in playtime
- Lethargic or not as active as usual
Final Thoughts on Baby Overheating
The thing to keep in mind is that babies cannot regulate their body temp well, so you want to avoid extreme hot and cold. If you’re ever not sure, do the “ear check” to be safe!
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.