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Keeping your baby cool at night in summer

Written by Amina Hatia RM
Medically reviewed by Marley Hall BA RM Diphe
July 20, 2016

With hot summer nights upon us and many of us planning to jet off to even warmer climes over the next couple of months, keeping cool enough to sleep can be a bit of a battle, and keeping little ones cool is even harder.

We know that babies sleep well in a room that is between 16-20°C but when the summer kicks in and temperatures soar, it’s difficult to keep the room temperature anywhere near that, unless you’re lucky enough to have air conditioning!! We’ve got some great tips here to keep your baby comfortable through the hot sticky nights and to stop them overheating..

1. Ditch the jim jams!

If the room is very hot, for example over 25 degrees for most of the night, just a nappy and thin cotton vest may suffice. If the room is between 20-23 degrees a shortie baby grow or shorts and t-shirt pyjamas perhaps with socks or just a nappy and a 1 tog sleep sack. If your baby is too young for any kind of bedding and it is too hot for a sleep sack, simply dress them in suitable clothing for the room temperature so that no covering is required.

2. Open windows, close blinds

During the day, open all windows on the same floor to create a blow-through and pull curtain two thirds of the way across to block out hot sun but still allow the breeze through.  Open your loft hatch if you have one to allow heat to escape up through the roof and open your windows and curtains at night if it’s safe.

3. Check Bedding

Use only cotton bed sheets and avoid any waterproof mattress covering as this will hold heat and make your baby sweat. Babies won’t need much in the way of bedclothes or covers. If you use a sheet make sure it won’t work loose to cover their face or tangle them up during the night.

4. Cool down before bedtime

A calm baby will remain cooler than a frustrated baby so try to maintain a calming bedtime routine and offer reassurance and comfort if he is agitated.  A luke-warm bath or slightly cooler bath than usual might help to refresh your baby before bedtime and relieve any clamminess. Make it a quick bath so that she doesn’t get too chilly.  A cool flannel or cold compress dabbed gently on your baby may also help to cool and calm him.

5. How hot is it?

If you haven’t already got one on your baby monitor, get a room thermometer so that you know what temperature you are dealing with. This will take away the guesswork and give you peace of mind that you have dressed your baby suitably.

6. Keeping cool

Large bottles of frozen water (1litre plus), placed in the baby’s room may help to cool the air as they melt overnight, also bowls of water in the house can help to cool the air through evaporation.

Electric fans will often just blow the warm air around but place a large bowl of ice or some frozen water bottles in front of the fan to cool the air that circulates the room and make sure to keep it out of reach from curious little fingers.

7. Keeping hydrated

Your baby may need to drink more than usual. Cold water is great so for young babies it is worth cooling some boiled water and refrigerating it for night time use. Breastfed babies will stay hydrated on breastmilk, but you need to make sure that you’re hydrated too.

8. Be aware of temperature changes in the night

Remember, no matter how hot it is at bedtime, the temperature will drop in the night so don’t put your baby in his cot in just a nappy if it will drop below 25 degrees in the night. You might like to check on him before you go to bed to see how the temperature is.

Hands and feet do get colder than the rest of the body so it is natural for these to feel a little colder to the touch. If you are unsure about your baby’s temperature, feel the back of his neck or use a thermometer.

9. Location, location, location

The position of your baby’s room may mean that it’s one of the warmer rooms in the house.  If you cannot keep your baby cool in her own room, consider moving her to a cooler room in the house temporarily.

10. Put yourself in their place

Babies will be comfortable dressed for temperatures as you would dress yourself. So ask yourself how hot it feels and what you would be comfortable in when you are considering how to dress you baby. Just remember, you can pull the covers over you but she cannot, so imagine you are going to bed without any bed covers.

Is my baby too hot?

Your baby is likely to become restless if feeling too hot or too cold so he may let you know. He may be more difficult to settle to sleep than usual or wake more frequently due to the discomfort of the temperature.

Newborns are at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) if they overheat so check your newborn does not have a moist head or neck which are signs of sweating. If the face is redder than usual or he has a rash or you notice rapid breathing, these could be signs of overheating.