It is important that your baby's room is cool enough for them to sleep safely and comfortably in at night, but in the summer months it can be hard to keep your baby's room cool. It is particularly difficult if your baby's nursery has a south facing window because the sun will heat it up during the day and it may be too warm by bedtime. Babies find it harder to regulate their temperature than adults and of course they can't tell you if they are too hot! As well as being uncomfortable, overheating can be dangerous for babies and increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
The good news if that there are some simple things that you can do to help keep your baby cool and sleeping safely during the summer months.
Get to know the room temperature
It's hard to guess the temperature of a room, so the first step to keeping your baby cool and comfortable is to invest in an accurate thermometer. Many baby monitors have a built in thermometer, but if yours doesn't there are lots of good ones on the market and you don't need to spend a fortune. They can even be a stylish addition to your baby's nursery! I love the Grow Egg thermometer which changes colour to let you know if the room is too hot or too cold. A room temperature of 16 - 20 degrees Celsius is ideal for your baby to sleep comfortably, with 18 degrees being the perfect temperature. If you find that your baby's room is hotter than this at bedtime, there are some simple steps you can take to help them sleep safely.
Remove unnecessary clothing and bedding
The first thing to consider in warmer weather is what your baby wears at night, and the bedding you use. Remove unnecessary bedding if the room is hotter than usual and dress your baby in just his vest and nappy if the room is really warm. If you are using a baby sleeping bag, always check the manufacturers instructions about what tog sleeping bag to use and how to dress your baby underneath. Grobag have an online tool to help you check what your baby should be dressed in depending on their age, weight and tog sleeping bag here.
A general rule of thumb is to dress your baby in one more layer than you are wearing to feel comfortable and keep checking their skin to make sure they don't feel sweaty or hot. When the night are cooler, you can always add an extra layer if needed when your baby wakes for a feed in the night.
Reduce how much the room heats up during the day
You can help stop your baby's room becoming so hot in sunny days by keeping the curtains and window shut. Open them a few hours before bedtime one the sun is no-longer shining directly into the room. Reflective blinds for window linings can also help to keep the heat out during the day.
Using a fan in the doorway, blowing onto a wet towel can also help to cool the air circulating in your baby's nursery. Put the fan on an hour or so before bedtime so that the fan has time to cool the room.
If your baby's nursery is south facing and you find it impossible to cool it down enough at night, consider putting your baby to sleep in a different room in a cooler part of the house temporarily. Luckily, in the UK the very hit weather doesn't usually last for too long!
A cooler than usual (but not cold) bath before bed can help your baby to be cool and comfortable before bed.
Use a fan in the room if you are feeding your baby before bed to avoid both of you getting too hot and sweaty.
Keep a fan going in your baby's nursery once they are in bed but ensure it is not pointing at your baby. Aim it towards a wall, with a wet towel handing in front of it, to get a cooling breeze circulating.
Keep windows and doors open throughout the house to allow air to move freely.
Check your baby's temperature regularly by feeling the skin on their neck and tummy. It should be warm but not hot or sweaty.
Freezing large bottles of water and standing them in your baby's room to melt overnight will also have a gentle cooling effect.
For further information, check out the Lullaby Trust website for advice on all aspects of safe sleep for your baby.