How often do you take a jacket off, or throw a sweater on throughout the day? You probably do it without even thinking. Regulating your own body temperature is as automatic as breathing. When you are hot, you take a layer off and when you are cold, you bundle up. It’s simple for an adult.
Babies can’t do this, though. They need you to keep a watchful eye and help them regulate their temperatures. This is true during the day and during the night.
So what are the signs that your baby is too cold? What is the optimal room temperature for babies at night? Let’s take a look at these questions and more…
P.S. Room temperature affects SIDS rates. Get your Free SIDS prevention Ebook Here.
Is my baby too cold?
The primary way that people lose body temperature is through exposed body surfaces. This is referred to “radiated heat” by Mayo Clinic (source). This is the medical way of saying that exposing your skin typically causes you to lose heat.
This is particularly true for babies and children. Babies in particular are at the highest risk of rapidly losing heat. This is true for a few reasons:
1. babies have a high body-surface to weight ratio which increases the risk of heat loss.
2. babies don’t have the skills or mental awareness to self-regulate like adults do.
Your first instinct may be to check the hands and feet. In general, the hands and the feet are a poor way to tell if your baby is too cold. This is because they are often exposed and thus will naturally carry a lower temperature. If the hands and feet are cold, this doesn’t mean that your baby is too cold!
A better way to measure is to feel your baby’s torso. If it is warm to the touch, then your baby is just fine! A lot of development is happening in the core of newborns so blood is naturally diverted to this area.
- We recommend that babies need 1 additional layer of clothing than you do to remain comfortable.
Babies who are acting like babies are most likely not too cold. Stay in tune with the baby’s behavior. Is she eating, sleeping, crying, and being a normal baby? If so, you are probably just fine.
What is the best room temperature for babies?
If you are a new parent that has access to the internet, you have probably heard about how room temperature can affect SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) rate.
Here is what you need to know.
In 2001, a group of scientists studied arousal rates of children based on room temperature. What they found was that babies that slept in higher room temperatures had more difficult time waking up to auditory signals.
SIDS is simply the inability for a baby to wake when something else is going wrong physiologically. In short, scientists found that higher room temperatures makes it more difficult to rouse the baby thus increasing the chances that the baby won’t wake if something is going wrong.
So, the reason that you want to keep the room temperature at a lower level is to not hamper the ability of the baby to wake and cry if something is indeed happening during sleep.
So what is the best room temperature for babies?
That same study found that babies in room temperatures that did not exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius) did not experience heightened difficulty of waking.
So, we recommend that you keep the baby’s room temperature between 69 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (20.5 - 24 Celcius).