As the weather gets cooler you might start thinking about how to keep your baby warm during his sleep. What are the options out there? Which is the best way to keep your baby safe at night?
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Blanket or baby sleeping bag?
A sleeping bag is worn around the baby’s body. It keeps them comfortably warm while they sleep.
Sleeping bags stop babies from wriggling under covers or kicking off blankets. There are different sizes and thickness options for different seasons. If you choose an appropriate sleeping bag you should not need to use extra bedding. For that reason, babies wearing a sleeping bag are at lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The Lullaby Trust is an organization dedicated to studying SIDS since 1971. This organization considers the sleeping bag a good option for babies to sleep at night.
Blankets are only safe if they aren’t too thick. Otherwise they could cause overheating. Also, they must be firmly tucked in and be placed lower than the baby’s shoulders. The ‘feet-to-foot’ position, with the baby’s feet against the foot of the mattress, is the best to avoid the face being covered by a loose blanket.
Benefits of a baby sleeping bag
A safe sleeping bag…
- Reduces the risk of the baby’s face being covered by bedding.
- Helps the baby keep a more constant temperature through the night.
- Promotes back sleeping since the zipper opens to the front. The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is higher for babies sleeping on their tummy. And it’s even higher if the baby sleeps on the tummy under heavy bedding.
- Delays the baby rolling onto the tummy during sleep. This is important until the baby’s past the age of increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
How to choose a safe baby sleeping bag
According to Red Nose Australia, a safe sleeping bag has fitted neck and armholes, no hood and is the correct size for the baby.
For a sleeping bag to be safe, the baby cannot slip inside it as he would be completely covered. The baby should not be able to get his hands inside the sleeping bag. For this reason, smaller sleeping bags (such as the 0-6 month size) usually have additional poppers to adjust and fit it. Also, the baby should not be able to slip down through the neck hole.
Most brands have three sizes: 0-6 months, 6-18 months and 18-36 months. Usually there’s a minimum weight to use a sleeping bag, which commonly is 4kg (approximately 8.8 pounds).
Always ensure the sleeping bag complies with British Standards. The appropriate one for baby sleeping bags is BS 8510:2009. Please read carefully and follow the product instructions.
Sleeping bags with hood are not considered safe and therefore are not recommended. They can cause overheating.
Depending on the room temperature the baby will need a thicker or thinner sleeping bag. For example, in a warmer room or during summer, a thin bag would be more suitable (0.5 tog or 1.0 tog). On the contrary, cooler rooms will need the baby to wear a thicker sleeping bag (2.5 tog or even 3.5 tog). On top of using an appropriate sleeping bag, the baby should be dressed according to the room temperature.
Different sleeping bags for different seasons
The image shows general guidelines. Each baby is different therefore you should always ensure that your baby isn’t too cold nor hot. You can check the hair or neck. If they are slightly wet, the baby may be too hot. In that case, remove clothing. If they are too cold, add clothing.
The Lullaby Trust recommends having a room thermometer. The ideal temperature is between 16 and 20°C degrees. When babies get too hot, they are at higher risk of SIDS.
Recommended sleeping bags
We recommend the following brands as we have personally used them. They have their whole range of sleeping bags available on Amazon. For each model there are different togs and sizes you can choose from:
The Original Grobag. Part of the well-known Tommee Tippee brand. This was probably our favourite.
Snoozebag. Safe, high quality zips on all sizes, 100% cotton
SnuzPouch.These bags have a handy nappy change zip for quick and easy changes at night.