How to Keep Your Baby Warm (and Safe!) During Sleep
On This Page
When chilly temperatures roll in, you know just what to do to keep yourself warm at night: Slide into your favorite flannel jammies and reach for your coziest comforter. But figuring out how to keep your baby warm in the winter, well, that’s not as easy! After all, babies should never sleep with any loose bedding, including the blankets you love to wrap yourself in. So, how do you keep a baby warm at night—safely? Here’s everything you need to know about making sure your baby is safe, warm, and sleeping well all winter long!
DO stick with cotton bedding and PJs.
Wearing fleece PJs and using jersey sheets are cozy ways to keep grownups warm during chilly nights, but the safest bedding, pajamas, and sleepytime bodysuits for your baby are always 100% cotton. Breathable fabrics made from natural fibers, like organic cotton, keep little ones warm, while still promoting airflow…for less sweaty sleeping. On the other hand, synthetic fabrics aren’t breathable and can increase your bub’s risk of overheating in their sleep. (PS: While you may think all jersey sheets would fit the 100%-cotton bill, some are actually a combo of polyester, rayon, and spandex. So, be sure to read labels.) Overheating is not only uncomfortable, it increases a baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). (Learn more about how to spot overheating in your baby.) For safe sleep, consider Happiest Baby’s crib sheets and SNOO sheets, which are 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, ensuring breathability and comfort all year round.
DON’T use loose blankets.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) could not be more clear: For your baby’s first year, do not place any loose blankets in your little one’s sleep space! That means no blanket over your baby, no blanket under your baby, and no blanket draped over your baby’s crib or bassinet. Soft objects, like comforters, blankets, nonfitted sheets, pillows, crib bumpers, and pillow-like toys all increase a baby’s risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment/wedging, and strangulation. (This also means it’s a big no-no to bring your baby into your warm bed to sleep! The AAP doesn’t recommend bed sharing with your baby under any circumstances.)
DO use the right swaddle for winter.
A wearable blanket, a sleep sack, or a baby swaddle are all fantastic alternatives to using a dangerous loose blanket to keep your little one warm. Bonus: If you opt for a swaddle, you’ll not only keep your newborn warm, you’ll help to activate their internal calming reflex, or Baby’s “off switch” for fussing and “on switch” for sleep. But not all swaddles are the same. Here are some seasonal—and safety—rules to remember when putting your baby to bed in the winter:
Swaddle warmth matters. Choose a lightweight, breathable cotton swaddle that’s slightly insulated for when the weather is cooler to cold, like when your baby’s room is 68 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. (Remember: Fleece and other synthetic fabrics increase your little one’s chance of overheating.) Safe and cozy choices include the Comforter Sleepea Swaddle and the Comforter SNOO Sack, both of which are super-soft, breathable, and comfy as can be, clocking an ideal 2.0 TOG rating, which means they’re just-right for chilly fall or winter sleeps. (Learn all about TOG ratings.)
Check the room temperature. Select your swaddle based on the temperature inside your little one’s room, not the temperature outside.
Avoid weighted swaddles and weighted blankets. The AAP warns that these types of sleep sacks can place too much pressure on a baby’s chest and lungs, proving to be dangerous.
Know when to stop swaddling. It’s important to trade your little one’s baby swaddle for a wearable blanket once they can roll over. That said, babies can remain safely swaddled in SNOO until they graduate to the crib, thanks to SNOO’s award-winning design that keeps babies snoozing on their backs. (Learn more about when to stop swaddling.)
Convert this swaddle to a sleep sack. Is your baby rolling and 33 pounds or less? If so, your baby’s extra-large Comforter Sleepea can easily convert to a toasty and safe wearable blanket—as long as you undo the shoulder snaps, allowing your bub to sleep arms-free. (PS: The same holds true for the original Sleepea, too!)
DON’T put a hat on your sleeping baby.
Sure, a hat isn’t bedding, but it’s still a no-no when it comes to baby sleep…so, don’t let the old timey term “sleeping cap” fool you! The AAP notes that caregivers should never place a hat on an infant’s head when indoors—including when sleeping—because it increases a baby’s chance for overheating. Plus, hats can fall off and cover your little one’s face, potentially posing a suffocation risk. (Hats-when-sleeping are only okay during Baby’s first hours of life or when in the NICU.)
DO pay attention to your baby’s temperature cues.
Unsure if your baby is too hot, too cold, or just-right? Simply feel your little one’s ears. If they’re cold, your baby is likely chilly. (Try a little skin-to-skin cuddling to gently warm them up, dress your baby in a lightly insulated swaddle, like Comforter Sleepea, and make sure their room is at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit.)
If your baby’s ears feel hot to the touch, your lovebug might be burning up, too. To help make your little one more comfortable (and safer), lower the thermostat so that Baby’s room temperature is less than 72 degrees Fahrenheit. And consider removing a layer of clothing. Research shows that a baby’s risk of SIDS increases during the colder months, likely because of overheating caused by trying to keep their babies warm.
If your baby’s ears feel neither too hot nor too cool, then their body temperature is where it should be!
DON’T put your baby near a drafty window or a heater.
The position of your baby’s crib or bassinet in the room affects how comfortable they are during sleep. That means it’s important to place your little one’s crib or bassinet several feet away from any drafty windows, outside walls, and air vents. And if you are warming up your baby’s room with a space heater…stop! You should only use a space heater when you are home and awake. Experts warn that you should never leave a space heater running while you’re sleeping and you should never leave young children alone in a room with a space heater.
More on Safe Sleep:
- When is it Safe to Offer Your Child a Blanket?
- Sleepytime Products to Keep Out of Baby’s Crib
- Crib Safety 101
- Baby Sleep Positions: What’s Safe?
Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Submit your questions here.
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.