How hot is too hot for your baby? What should the temperature of the baby’s room be? Well, the short answer is that the nursery should be between 64 F and 70 F (18 to 21 Celsius). The rule of thumb for your baby at night is to dress them in one more layer than you feel comfortable. You can also look at the signs baby is too hot while sleeping.
Let’s clear one thing first. It is safer for a baby to be too cold than too hot. If they are chilly, babies can wake up and cry. You can solve the problem then. But they will not do the same if they are too hot.
Why Do Babies Overheat?
An infant baby is not capable of regulating its own core body temperature. Ask any pediatrician, and he/she will tell you that babies’ temperature rises much faster than ours.
And because babies and children sweat less, they cannot cool down as easily as we do. As such, babies are more prone to overheating and more likely to be affected by a heat-related illness.
For example, because babies do not have their sweat glands fully developed yet, they are likely to get heat rash or prickly heat.
What Are The Signs Of Baby Overheating?
It is common for babies to be warmer during summer. Yet, if their body temperature stays high, it can be an indication of health problems. When your baby is too hot, it is imperative that you cool them down.
To prevent overheating and heat-related illnesses, you have to pay close attention to the signs baby is too hot while sleeping. There is an easy way to tell your baby is too hot. Simply touch its ears and neck. If they are red hot, and their neck is sweaty, chances are, your baby is too warm.
With that in mind, here are some surefire signs.
Your touch is more than enough to tell your baby is too hot. Check if their neck, back, or tummy is sweaty or warm to the touch.
But do not do the touch test on the hands and feet, they are usually colder than the rest of the body.
Red Face And Rashes
There are also some visual signs baby is too hot while sleeping. When your baby’s skin is red or blotchy, it is an indicator of baby overheating.
Because babies do not sweat as we do, when they are too hot, their sweat can irritate the hair follicles in the skin. The result is a prickly rash or red splotches.
These rashes will appear in areas where skin-to-skin contact is common, like the armpits, elbows, thighs, or areas that are flat against fabrics.
Rapid Breathing And Raised Heart Rate
When you are sweating, your heart beats faster and you try to breathe faster. Even for adults, it is hard to control breathing and heart rate when we are too hot.
Babies experience the same. When they are hot, their body is working extra hard to cool themselves down. Here are some general ideas. Your baby should take about 40 breaths per minute for up to six months. That slows down to 20 per minute during sleeping. And if your baby is taking anything more than 60, it is time for urgent medical advice. Generally saying, over 40 is a sign of overheating.
Lethargic And Disoriented
Your baby is sleepy when waking up for a feed. But if you notice your baby is unresponsive, dizzy, or lethargic, it might be a sign of overheating. Check body and skin temperature.
Fever Without Sweating
We talked about sweating, but what happens if your baby has a fever without sweating? It is another clear sign of overheating.
Another obvious sign your baby is too hot while sleeping is irritability and restlessness. This can also be a sign your baby is teething. In any case, it is a warning sign you should check to be sure.
What Is An Ideal Baby’s Room Temperature?
We touched on this before, but let’s get to the nitty-gritty. No matter the season, you should aim to keep the nursery an ideal temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18 to 22 Celsius. You can easily measure babys room temperature with a thermometer. Yet, in general, it should not be too cold or too warm for you as well.
We cannot control the weather outside, but we can control the temperature inside. Here are some ways to regulate the temperature.
- Provide plenty of ventilation like open doors in the nursery
- Consider using a fan to help air circulate
- Use blackout curtains to keep sunlight out
- Move to a lower room in the house, these are usually chillier
- Provide a heat source during the winter
Tips To Keep Your Baby Comfortable
If you cannot cool down the baby’s room, there are other ways to make your baby comfortable. Here are some ideas.
- Dress your little one as lightly as possible, sometimes, nothing but a diaper and a light, sleeveless sleep sack
- Keep a fan running on high in the room, a few hours before bedtime. Turn the fan to low and direct it away from your baby
- Remove any waterproof mattress coverings while the weather is hot. These mattresses do not breathe as well
- Invest in good window coverings for the nursery
- If your baby falls asleep in the car seat, keep the car running and air conditioning on
- If your baby falls asleep in the stroller, keep a close eye on it and do not cover it with a blanket, it can trap more heat inside
How To Prevent Overheating In The Winter
Babies need more protection during the winter. You want to make sure they are warm, but not too hot. A newborn baby doesn’t have its shiver reflex fully developed. That is the reflex that works to increase body heat in the cold. So, here are some ideas to prevent overheating in winter.
Dress your baby in layers. A general rule of thumb is one layer more than what you are wearing. And if your little baby gets too warm, peel off a layer.
For outdoor adventures, start with a long-sleeve cotton bodysuit, and add soft pants, socks, and a sweater. If you have a jacket on, your baby should have a jacket or snowsuit as well. And then, a blanket. Do not forget a hat and some mittens.
When you are using a baby carrier, do not dress your little one in a sweater. Your body heat will provide enough warmth to keep your newborn baby hot without overheating. Also, make sure its face isn’t pressed against your chest or clothing.
It is better to use a blanket than a coat in the car. Bulky coats and snowsuits should not be worn in the car seat because they leave too much space under the harness. This endangers your baby in the case of an accident.
How To Keep Your Baby Cool During Summer
High outdoor temperature will put your young child at risk of overheating. It is as simple as that. So, the first rule of thumb is to not go out during peak heat. The day is hottest between 11 am and 3 pm. Try to avoid spending time outside during that period.
Do not cover the stroller. Yes, draping the stroller with a muslin blanket can shield your baby from the sun, but it traps heat inside and increases the temperature of the stroller.
Keep your young child hydrated. Remember, babies get hydration either from breast milk or formula. On steamy days, offer more milk. In the first 6 months of life, you should not give water to your baby.
How To Cool Down An Overheated Baby?
We talked about the signs baby is too hot while sleeping. But what can you do with your overheated baby? How to cool it down?
The first thing you can do is offer your little baby fluids. For babies under 6 months, that means breast milk or formula milk. And for babies between 6 and 12 months, that means water.
If needed, take your baby to a cooler room. Usually, lower floors and shaded rooms have a lower temperature.
Last, but not least, apply a cold compress, and hold it to your baby’s forehead. If symptoms do not improve after several minutes, contact your pediatrician.