As an adult, if you get warm you can just off a layer or kick your feet out from under the doona. Likewise, if you’re cold, you can easily add another blanket or pull on a jumper. Obviously, a newborn can’t do those things. Just as you are responsible for keeping your child fed, hydrated and happy, you also play a pretty major role in his or her temperature, something that they can’t quite manage themselves yet. So how do you know what the ideal room temperature for babies is?
To get one thing straight, there is no one specific “best temperature” that your baby needs to be happy and healthy.
If someone tries to tell you that your baby will only be okay at one specific temperature, don’t believe them. Just like all people, babies are individuals. Just like individuals, they will all have their own preferred temperatures, though most will fall somewhere between 16-20°C while sleeping and edge into slightly warmer temperatures when the baby is awake.
Those are some basic guidelines for selecting the room temperature while your baby sleeps or lounges about in their room. Aside from the thermostat, there are a few other things you can do to make sure your baby is safe, comfortable, and not too hot or cold.
Here are some tips when selecting the ideal room temperature for babies:
- You can check your baby’s temperature by feeling his or her back or tummy, which should feel warm (if baby’s hands and feet feel cool, don’t worry as this is normal). If your baby is showing signs of heat stress, remove some bedding or clothing. If your baby seems unwell, seek medical attention.x
- Your baby predominantly controls their temperature through the face and head. Therefore, you should lay your baby to sleep your baby on his or her back with the head and face uncovered to reduce the risk of overheating.
- Ensure that baby’s head and face cannot accidentally become covered while sleeping. Avoid bedding like duvets, pillows, bumpers, lambs’ wool, or soft toys where the baby is sleeping as these can inadvertently end up on the face. A good method of avoidance is to use a baby sleeping bag with a fitted neck, armholes, and sleeves as these are designed to eliminate the risk.
- When in doubt, dress your baby as you would dress yourself! If its cold, bundle them up a bit more. If it’s hot, avoid swaddling them.
- Remove your baby’s bonnet, beanie, hood or hat as soon as you go indoors or enter a warm area, even if you must wake the baby up to do this.
- Never use electric blankets, wheat bags or hot water bottles.
- NEVER leave your baby in a car to sleep without supervision.
Don’t stress too much about the ideal room temperature for babies. As long as you are attentive to how your baby is feeling and you make good use of the tips above your baby should stay safe, happy and comfortable.