While you were expecting, you probably already have a score of things to decorate your baby’s room. But more than the aesthetics, we suggest that you should also make sure that it is comfy and safe. Newborns and infants will not appreciate those motifs and decors yet. What they need is the best room temperature to keep them comfortable, happy, and out of harm’s way.
Babies love the warmth that had embraced them in their mom’s tummy. The outside environment can get harsh on them – too cold, or too hot. According to Healthline, babies need the ideal ambient room temperature of 68 to 72°F (20 to 22.2°C). For pre-term babies, you should maintain it at 72°F for the first few weeks at home. Beyond comfort, keeping an ideal room temperature is a very important factor in preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) from happening. So when baby-proofing your newborn’s room, make sure that its temperature is also on your considerations’ list.
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Importance of Keeping the Ideal Room Temperature
Your baby cannot tell you if he is too hot or too cold. You would usually know through plaintive cries of protest. Unlike adults, their body is yet to stabilize their internal thermostats. That’s why you have to transition him slowly by making sure the room is in a favorable environment.
The biggest and most important benefit of having the ideal room temperature is its prevention of SIDS. SIDS or crib death occurs when babies suffocate, get strangled, or overheat in their sleep. Older babies can manifest hotness through night sweating. This is rarely obvious in a newborn whose sweat glands have not yet fully developed. When babies overheat, they will have difficulty waking up, and that’s the worst-case scenario.
Getting a good night’s sleep is also a benefit when he sleeps at a cozy temperature. When your baby gets too cold during the night, he will become fussy. Aside from depriving you of your sleep, this will have a negative effect on his cognitive and behavioral health later on.
How to Maintain the Room Temperature
Maintaining a room temp for your baby’s room can be a challenge. Depending on your locality, the prevailing weather or the time of the year, the outside temperature varies greatly. The best thing to do is to have a thermostat to gauge and regulate the correct temperature inside your home.
However, the thermostat for the main part of your home may not accurately account for your baby’s room temp. Here are some ways of maintaining an ideal temperature for your baby’s room according to Sleep Advisor.
Use a Portable Indoor Thermometer
If your baby’s room does not have a thermostat, a thermometer will help you measure it. Babies tend to be comfortable at a temperature that makes you feel comfortable. They will only need a layer more of clothing than you in that particular environment.
Install a Baby Monitor with Sensor
The American Academy of Pediatrics still recommends sleeping with your baby in the same room. But if you really need to, you can install a baby monitor with a built-in thermometer and alarm to take your worries off.
This device will alert you when the room temp rises or drops during the night. Hence, it is a better one than just an indoor thermometer. In extremely rare cases where the HVAC in the baby’s room malfunctioned, you will be alerted right away.
Use a Fan
A fan may help reduce heat and circulate oxygen inside the baby’s room. It may not decrease heat much, but it will provide better airflow. When using it, do not point it directly at your baby.
Remember that your baby cannot properly regulate his temperature yet. At some point, it may get chilly, plus the air blowing directly on his ear can cause damage. Place the fan at a place where it can blow in fresh air or point it at the ceiling.
An AC will be useful
Yes, you can use an air conditioner or air cooler in your baby’s room especially when summer gets unbearable. You can set a timer so it will be just enough for the AC to cool the room. Dress your baby in a light layer of clothing that covers up his arms and legs. Your newborn will love a nice and warm swaddle, while older babies can use a sleep sack or suit.
If you are using an air cooler, you may need to leave the door or window slightly open. The water evaporating from the machine can increase humidity in a closed room. So when it reaches a certain point, the air will become hot and sticky. Using a fan with an AC or air cooler is not a bad idea.
Helpful Tips in Keeping Babies Comfortable (And Safe)
Extreme weather changes can be such a nuance even for adults. Babies are also not spared from feeling the discomfort from too warm or too cold weather. So even if you can crank your thermostat to the right temperature, you may still want to dress him appropriately.
Most mothers may tell you to check the baby’s hand and feet to see if he feels warm or cold enough. But, this may not be a reliable gauge of how your baby feels at the moment. You can instead feel the back of his head, his nape, or belly to be sure.
Here are some tips to ensure your babies’ safety and comfort:
Keep your baby’s crib bare
Having too much stuff on your baby’s bed because he looks cute among it is such a dangerous idea. And it is also an uncomfortable one. A cramped bed does not only increase the warmness of the bed, but also increases the risks of suffocation. Thus, the AAP continues to spread awareness on keeping the baby’s bed free from entanglement to lessen the probability of SIDS. Accordingly, until the baby is at least 12 months of age, he should sleep with a bare crib.
The first six months of your baby’s life is crucial and is where SIDS risk is at its highest. He is too vulnerable and helpless in his surroundings. It’s never too wrong to be anxious and precautionary. The rule is: simplicity is safety.
Don’t over bundle
The risk of overheating increases as you bundle your little one to keep him comfy. Dress him in light clothing and swaddle him in a light blanket. For older babies, you can put them in a lightweight sleep sack. You can see how to properly bundle your baby and when to stop swaddling here.
If your baby is sick, all the more that you need to stop over bundling. He needs to cool himself off and layers of clothing may only raise his temperature. Maintain the ambient temperature in a room and dress him lightly when he is running a fever.
Dress babies right
If you notice that your newborn’s feet are turning slightly blue and cold to touch, there’s nothing to worry about. This is normal for infants and newborns. When this happens to your tiny tot, he’s probably just cold and will return to his normal color when you warm him a little.
When dressing your baby, add a layer of clothing than what you would normally wear. If he is still cold after quite a while, add another layer. If you noticed that he is sweating, you can remove one layer at a time. Check again after a few minutes to see if he is doing well.
You can add or remove his clothing one at a time rather than directly bundling or stripping him off.
Dress babies appropriately for the cold season
The possibility of crib death increases during the cold seasons. Why? Because most parents thought keeping the baby under several layers of clothing will ward off the chill. So how should you deal with the harsh winter?
Layering is still a practical way of dressing your child so you can adjust it accordingly through adding or eliminating. A snug swaddle will keep your newborn baby cozy. A sleep sack will also keep him warm enough to sleep through the chilly nights. However, you should avoid using hats indoors as this will risk overheating your baby.
Would you reach for a blanket? Not necessarily. Only you can decide when to put a blanket on for your older baby. When he squirms too much in his sleep, a sleep sack or sleepsuit is a safe counterpart. And, the same thermostat at 68 to 72°F is applicable.
Among the worries mothers have is if their baby is feeling cold or warm. The cold is unarguably cruel, but a baby warming to the point of overheating is more dangerous. A thermostat can do so much in helping you maintain an ideal room temperature for your little bundle.
Babies sleep better into the night when he is in the right and favorable environment. They do sleep snugly if they are not too warm or overdressed. Help your baby transition better by keeping him comfortable, but without compromising his safety. After all, putting his safety on top should be your number one priority.
Did you find this post helpful? What are other things that you do to keep your little one comfy in his room? Share with us your room temperature and baby-proofing tips in the comment section below.
Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She had experiences in handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also used to train in labor rooms and pediatric wards – helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.