Babies control their temperature through their heads and faces. Placing your baby on their back for sleep and ensuring that their face and head remain uncovered during sleep is the best way to prevent them from overheating and suffocating.
Research has shown that a baby’s risk of dying suddenly and unexpectedly is increased if the baby is sleeping on the tummy. This risk is increased further your baby is sleeping on the tummy on a soft surface under loose or heavy bedding or if your baby’s head or face becomes covered by bedding or head coverings
Sleeping your baby in a safe sleeping bag is a great alternative to bedding and can prevent bedclothes from covering your baby’s face.
If blankets are being used instead of a safe sleeping bag, it is recommended to place your baby with his or her feet at the bottom of the cot, using layers of lightweight blankets that can be added or removed easily according to the ambient feel of the room. Tuck blankets in firmly so they cannot become loose and cover your baby’s head and face during sleep.
Overheating can be caused by head and face covering, room heating, high body temperature and excessive clothing or bedding. To reduce the risk of this, we recommend that you, as your baby’s parent or carer, use your own judgement, taking into account factors such as the individual requirements of your baby, where you live (climate, whether it is summer or winter), whether you have heating in the house, and whether your baby has a cold or other illness (which may cause their temperature to rise).
A useful guide:
- Dress baby for sleep using layers as you would dress or use layers yourself: to be comfortable, neither too hot nor too cold - add/remove lightweight blankets to ensure baby’s tummy or back feels comfortably warm to the touch
- A good way to check your baby’s temperature is to feel their tummy or back which should feel warm (don’t worry if their hands and feet feel cool, this is normal).
- Always ensure baby’s head is uncovered - no hats, bonnets, beanies or hooded clothing
- Never use electric blankets, wheat bags or hot water bottles for babies.
Last modified: 1/12/21