New parents often worry that their baby is either too warm or not dressed warmly enough. The right room temperature and the optimal temperature in the child’s bedroom are important for their development and ability to sleep well through the night. Indeed, one of the reasons why babies constantly wake up at night is that their sleepwear is too thin or too thick.
But what actually is the ideal room temperature for your baby? And how should you best dress your baby at night? And what is the best way to dress your baby during the day? In this guide, we’ll answer these questions and as well as some others, plus give you tips to ensure that your baby is dressed appropriately at all times.
How does a baby’s body temperature differ from that of an adult?
Before we get to the bottom of the question of the ideal room temperature for a baby, let's first take a look at a baby's body temperature. For adults, a body temperature of 36.5 to 37.5 degrees is considered normal, although of course this can vary somewhat from individual to individual. This is similar for babies and infants.
Babies and children experience slightly elevated body temperatures more often than adults. This is usually around 37.5 to 38 degrees. The many developmental processes going on simultaneously in your baby's body cause their body temperature to occasionally rise.
In children, an elevated body temperature can be triggered by an energetic playtime and being too thickly clothed. In babies and children, only temperatures which rise above 38 degrees are considered to be proper fevers, with a temperature above 39 degrees being a high fever. Fever is more common in babies, toddlers and even older children than in adults. Sometimes a child might even feel poorly and feverish towards the evening, but then get up again the next day without any complaints.
How does body temperature change during the day?
In adults, fluctuations in body temperature are something completely normal, because one’s body temperature is influenced by many different factors. In the morning, for example, our body temperature averages 36.2 degrees and can increase by one degree during the day. Physical exertion or even having a heavy meal can also cause our temperature to rise by 1 to 2 degrees.
Your body temperature can even fluctuate depending on the area of the body. Your core body temperature is about 37 degrees, while areas such as the chest are warmer than certain others. So when taking your or your baby’s temperature, be sure to indicate the location where this was done.
This is similar for newborns and children. Their body temperature in the morning is usually one degree lower than in the evening. Their bodies are warmed up by activities during the day, just like with adults.
Can babies maintain and regulate their body temperature on their own?
No, newborn babies are not yet able to maintain a constant body temperature on their own and are therefore much more vulnerable to chills or overheating than adults. As such, dressing your baby in the right clothing is essential to keeping them safe and healthy.
Adults’ muscles protect them against cold temperatures. Newborns and infants’ muscle mass is still too small to provide sufficient protection, however, so they can’t produce heat through muscle tremors or goose bumps as we adults do. In addition, newborns have a larger body surface area relative to their weight than adults, which can cool more quickly.
This shouldn’t discourage you from going outside with your baby when it’s cool outside, as the cool air can have a positive effect on their immune system. That said, the right clothing and the matching baby blanket for the stroller are important here.
Optimal sleeping temperature baby: At what room temperature should babies sleep?
Although parents often assume that their little ones are too cold, newborns and toddlers in fact prefer it a little cooler at night. If you dress your child too thickly or in two many layers, this extra heat might jolt him out of sleep and lead him to start crying.
The best bedroom temperature for babies is between 16 to 18 degrees. This is similar to the optimal sleeping temperature for adults, which is between 15 and 19 degrees. Be sure never to place your baby’s crib in direct sunlight or next to the radiator.
You can easily test whether your baby is cold at night by feeling whether the back of the neck or the area between the shoulder blades feels hot and sweaty. The relative warmth or coldness of your baby’s extremities, particularly their hands and feet, is due to their undeveloped circulatory system and therefore not a reliable indicator of whether they’re hot or cold.
How do you dress your baby properly at night?
Babies who feel too cold at night wake up and start crying. This can interrupt the sleep that is so important for babies and their parents. At the same time, too warm sleepwear is also uncomfortable for little ones; dressing babies too warm is also associated with a higher rate of SIDS. So, how do you dress your baby properly?
Sleep temperature baby winter
When it comes to the right clothing for your baby, it depends on what time of year it is. On cold days, winter baby sleeping bags are ideal for newborns and toddlers. These ensure a good temperature balance and provide a safe sleeping environment for your baby. Babies can wear a long-sleeved bodysuit or a romper with feet beneath the baby sleeping bag.
Sleeping temperature baby summer
Special baby sleeping bags are also available for the summer. These are usually made of a thinner and breathable material to make sure that your baby doesn’t overheat. Underneath, your baby can wear a thin romper without feet or a short-sleeved bodysuit in the summer. For toddlers, natural materials such as cotton are the best choice for t-shirts.
Room temperature baby during the day
Since toddlers move a lot throughout the day anyway, a temperature of 20 degrees in the nursery is fine. If your child still plays a lot on the floor and there is no underfloor heating, they should be dressed a little warmer.
In the bathroom or at the changing area, the temperature should ideally be a bit warmer, at around 24 degrees, as your baby no longer has any clothing to keep them warm. In addition, it’s better for your child's immune system to be exposed to different temperatures in your house or apartment.
Adequate ventilation in the children's room
The humidity in your child’s room should be somewhere between 40% and 60%. Humidity that is too low can dry out the mucous membranes of your baby’s eyes, nose and mouth, thereby leaving them more vulnerable to a cold. If the room’s humidity is too high, however, the risk of mold rises, which is associated with respiratory illnesses, such as asthma.
It’s especially important to air out your baby’s bedroom in the winter. It is best to open the window several times a day - but only when your baby is placed in another room - so that air that is low in oxygen can be exchanged for oxygen-rich air.
Choose the proper sleepwear for your baby with sleeping bags from Zizzz
At Zizzz, we provide only the best products for your children. That's why we've made a conscious decision to use 100% organic materials in our sleeping bags. Our winter baby sleeping bag is made of Swisswool filling and an outer cover GOTS-certified, 100% organic cotton. This not only regulates your baby’s body temperature, but also optimally absorbs moisture.
Our summer baby sleeping bags for babies are ideal for the hottest months of the year. These are made of delicately-knitted organic cotton and protect your baby from overheating at night.