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9 Signs Baby Is Too Hot While Sleeping

Did you know that overheating can not only be 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.

baby asleep and sweating - too hot while sleeping

Are you as obsessed with your baby’s sleeping temperature as I was as a new mom?

It was one of those things that I was not prepared to worry about, but once I was in charge of a new little life, boy did I worry.

The thing is, temperature really can make a big difference in your baby’s sleep quality. It’s especially important to avoid overheating.

Let’s talk about why overheating can be dangerous and how to look for signs that baby is too hot while sleeping.

Why is Overheating a Problem for Sleeping Babies?

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).

That’s why it’s so important 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.

baby alelep in a onesie

What is the Best Temperature for a Sleeping Baby?

Studies have shown that sleeping at a cooler temperature is more conducive to longer sleep. Typically, the ideal sleeping temperature in your baby’s room should be between 68 to 72 degrees.

If you’re thinking that that’s a pretty tight climate window, you’re right.

And if you live in a warmer climate like we do, I’m sure you also know that it’s not easy or cheap to keep the house that cool during the summer.

Wondering what temperature is too hot for a baby to sleep? Typically you want to make sure the temperature doesn’t get any higher than about 75 degrees in your baby’s room at night.

Thankfully, there are ways to help offset the temperature if you can’t keep it quite cool enough in your baby’s room. I’ll talk more about ways to keep your baby cool below.

image of swaddled baby crying in mom's arms

Will a Baby Wake up If They are Too Hot?

You might be wondering: will a baby wake up if they are too hot? Will a baby cry if they are too hot at night to let you know?

The answer is maybe.

Babies are pretty talented at voicing their discomfort. That can be especially true when they are 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.

baby sleeping in crib

How Do I Know if My Baby is Too Hot at Night?

Use the Touch Test on an Overheated Baby

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.

mother feeling baby's forehead and taking temperature to check if baby is too hot

What Are the Signs Baby is Too Hot While Sleeping?

Determining overheating isn’t as easy as simply taking your baby’s temperature.

The goal is to keep your baby’s core temperature around 97.5 degrees. But even when a baby is experiencing overheating symptoms, their core temperature may not be elevated to fever-like levels.

That’s why it’s possible that during an overheating episode, your baby feels warm but their temperature is normal when you use a thermometer.

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
  • Vomiting
  • 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.

image of bright sun shining into nursery

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.

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.

Be sure to 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.

Consider investing in a good set of blackout curtains to prevent the sun from heating up your baby’s room. You can also use an oscillating fan in baby’s room to improve airflow and keep things cooler.

But perhaps most importantly, make sure you are dressing your baby appropriately. Check out this post if you’re wondering what babies sleep in during the summer.

You can also see the best summer sleep sacks if your baby has already outgrown the swaddle.

image of baby's back wearing only a diaper

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.

Amy Motroni
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