Did you know that overheating is not only bad for your baby’s sleep, but dangerous too? Learn to spot the signs that your baby is too hot while sleeping to keep them safe.
If your baby is feeling too hot, it can cause sleep problems that are mild to severe.
Babies who are too hot will often have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
Overheating can cause heat rash, which is a treatable but uncomfortable skin rash that might keep your baby from falling asleep easily.
But more dangerously, research has shown that overheating has been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Keep reading to know the signs of overheating, and be proactive to avoid it.
You can mitigate the risk of overheating by dressing your baby for sleep properly and keeping the temperature in their room at a safe level.
How Do I Know if Baby is Too Hot at Night?
The best way I’ve found to determine if a baby is too hot while sleeping is by using the touch test.
It’s about as simple as it sounds: if you think your baby is feeling too hot, touch them to find out.
Use your hand to touch your baby’s head, neck, or stomach. It’s okay for them to feel slightly warm to the touch, but not hot, sweaty, or clammy.
When you’re using the touch test, make sure you don’t do it on their hands or feet. These parts of a baby’s body tend to run naturally cooler.
Will a Baby Wake up If They are Too Hot?
Babies are pretty talented at voicing their discomfort. That can be especially true when they’re tired and not able to sleep because they’re so uncomfortable.
But it’s also possible that an overheated baby goes into a deeper sleep, which can increase the risk of SIDS.
Your best bet is to follow safe sleep guidelines and monitor your baby for the signs that they are too hot while sleeping.
As scary as it is, they may not always cry if they’re too hot at night.
What Are the Signs Baby is Too Hot While Sleeping?
If you’re wondering how to know if your baby is too hot in their swaddle or pajamas, keep an eye out for the following symptoms of overheating:
- Skin is warm to the touch and/or flushed
- Ears are hot and red
- Sweaty neck and/or hair
- Acting more fussy or restless than usual and crying more
- Decreased appetite or not interested in eating at all
- Fast breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Awake but lethargic or unresponsive
The last four symptoms are fairly serious, and may necessitate medical assistance. Pay close attention to these signs baby is too hot while sleeping.
Keep in mind that your baby doesn’t need to be showing all of these signs to be experiencing overheating. You may observe just one or two of these symptoms.
What to Do If Baby Is Too Hot While Sleeping
If you recognize overheating signs and use the touch test and discover that your baby is overheated, you’ll need to start the process of slowly and gently cooling them down.
I know it can be startling to realize that your little one’s discomfort is being caused by overheating, especially if you’re the one who dressed and swaddled them for bedtime. No parent contributes to an overheated baby intentionally.
Even so, resist the urge to do something abrupt like plopping them in a cold bath to remedy the situation.
Instead, first start to address the issue by removing layers. Stripping your baby down to their diaper can help, and then bring them into a more temperate area of the house if you can.
You can soak a washcloth in cool water and dab your baby gently with it. It’s also a good idea to hydrate your overheated baby, so offer a feed to them as well.
Once you’ve helped cool your baby down, make adjustments to their sleep environment and sleep wardrobe to avoid them overheating again.
If signs of overheating persist even after you’ve made adjustments, it could be time to reach out to your pediatrician.
How to Avoid an Overheated Baby
The best way to handle an overheated baby is to take preventative measures to ovoid overheating in the first place.
Here are some things you can do proactively:
Dress Baby Appropriately
Make sure you are dressing your baby appropriately. Check out this post if you’re wondering what babies sleep in during the summer.
Here are some options to dress baby:
- Dress your baby in the same number of layers that you plan to sleep in.
- If baby needs to be swaddled, use a light short-sleeved onesie underneath the swaddle.
- Consider a light summer sleep sack with breathable fabric.
- Choose a swaddle or sleep sack with a low TOG Rating.
Help create a conducive sleep environment that will help prevent your baby from overheating by:
- Hang blackout curtains to prevent the sun from heating up your baby’s room.
- Use an oscillating fan in baby’s room to improve airflow and keep things cooler.
- Set the thermostat between 68–72°.
Limit Sun Exposure
During hot days, make sure to keep baby out of direct sunlight when UV rays are at their peak. This goes for sunlight when you’re outdoors and sunlight coming through windows in the car and at home.
If you’d like summer wardrobe tips, I’ve got a whole post with suggestions on how to dress your newborn in the summer.
You can also use a window shade in the car to shield your baby in their carseat, particularly in the spring and summer when the sun is at its strongest.
Follow Safe Sleep Guidelines
Follow the abcs of safe sleep, which include:
- Keep loose blankets out of baby’s sleep space.
- Don’t put any hats or coverings on top of baby’s head or face.
- Put baby to sleep on their back each time.
The ideal sleeping temperature in your baby’s room should be between 68 to 72 degrees.
Typically you want to make sure the temperature doesn’t get any higher than about 75 degrees in your baby’s room at night.
If you have any questions about the signs your baby is too hot while sleeping, or how to keep them safe, leave them in the comments below.