Good sleeping habits are crucial for your baby’s healthy development and safety, and keeping your baby’s nursery or bedroom at an optimal temperature is an important part of this.

Learn what a safe room temperature is for your sleeping baby, how to dress your baby for sleep and how to tell if your baby is too hot or too cold.

The Ideal Temperature for Your Baby’s Room

When it comes to the ideal temperature for your baby’s room, experts recommend maintaining a temperature of between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius both in summer and in winter.

This is because temperature significantly affects the quality of your baby’s sleep. As a general rule of thumb, keep your baby’s room at a temperature that you find comfortable yourself.

Make sure there’s a thermometer in the room where your baby sleeps, so you can be aware of the ambient temperature. This way, you’ll know when it might be necessary to either adjust the heating or make changes to how your little one is dressed for sleep.

If you’re planning to buy a baby monitor, it’s worth knowing that some of the more advanced types can also measure the room temperature and display it on the parent unit in real time.

Why Room Temperature Is Important for Your Sleeping Baby

When the room temperature is too high or too low, your baby may not sleep as long or as well as he or she could.

Having the room too hot or too cold for your baby to sleep can also affect your child’s growth and development: It’s harder for babies to regulate their body temperature than it is for older children and adults, so your newborn uses a lot of energy to warm or cool his or her own body – energy that’s needed for healthy growth.

Maintaining a safe room temperature for your sleeping baby also helps prevent overheating. This, in turn, can help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Dressing Your Baby for Sleep

It’s not always possible to control the room temperature for your baby precisely, especially during spells of hot weather. In this case, just add or remove items of your baby’s clothing depending on how warm or cool it is.

It’s not always possible to control the room temperature for your baby precisely, especially during spells of hot weather. In this case, just add or remove items of your baby’s clothing depending on how warm or cool it is.

Baby Sleeping Temperature Guide

It’s important to check your baby to make sure he or she isn’t too hot or cold, but this rough baby sleeping temperature guide can give you an idea of how you might dress your little for sleep:

  • As a general rule, if the room temperature is around 18-20 degrees Celsius, put your newborn or older baby to bed in a vest and bodysuit or gown

  • If the room is at the cooler end of the scale, you might use a long-sleeved bodysuit and/or a warmer baby sleeping bag (with a higher ‘tog’ rating, which is a rating of warmth). If you add an extra blanket, make sure it’s tucked in securely below your baby’s shoulders – ask your midwife or health visitor how to do this if you aren’t sure

  • If the temperature in the bedroom or nursery where your baby sleeps is over 20 degrees Celsius, a short-sleeved bodysuit may be sufficient, depending on how warm it is

  • Add or remove layers if your baby shows signs of being too hot or cold

  • If you’re in any doubt, ask your health visitor or midwife for advice.

How to Tell if Your Baby Is Too Hot or Cold

If you’re not sure whether your baby is too hot or cold to sleep safely and comfortably, gently place a hand on the back of his or her neck (or tummy). If it feels pleasantly warm to the touch, your infant is fine.

Keep in mind that cooler arms, hands or feet are not necessarily a sign that your baby is too cold. This is just how your child controls his or her own body temperature, so you probably don’t need to add an extra layer or clothes in this case.

In general, being just a little on the cooler side is less of a safety risk for your baby than being too hot, as overheating is known to increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Signs your baby may be too hot:

  • Damp sweaty skin and/or hair

  • Skin feels hot (not just warm)

  • Flushed cheeks

  • Restlessness

  • Crying

  • Heat rash

Signs your baby may be too cold:

  • Skin feels cold to the touch (but keep in mind that cooler arms, hands or feet are not necessarily a sign that your baby is too cold)

  • Crying.

Keeping Your Baby Safe and Comfortable During Sleep

Besides maintaining a comfortable room temperature for your baby to sleep, here are some other important ways to help ensure your baby safe and comfortable as she sleeps:

  • Always put your baby down to sleep on his or her back. This is the safest sleep position for your baby, as it helps reduce the risk of SIDS. Daily tummy time is important but should only be done under your supervision and only when your baby is awake.

  • If your baby turns face-down or sideways when sleeping, gently turn him or her back again. You can stop doing this once your little one has learned to roll from back to front and front to back without help – after that it’s fine to let your baby find his or her own sleeping position.

  • Your baby is safest sleeping in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you. Sleeping separately but in the same room as you until at least 6 months of age has the lowest risk of SIDS. If you choose to co-sleep with your baby, ask your health visitor or midwife how to minimise the risks.

  • Don’t cover your baby’s head. Don’t use a hood or hat to keep him or her warm. If your baby seems cold, add an extra layer of clothing.

  • Place your baby with his or her feet at the foot of the cot or Moses basket. This prevents your child from wriggling under the covers, which carries a risk of suffocation or overheating.

  • Don’t use bulky or loose bedding. Pillows, duvets and quilts shouldn’t go into your baby’s cot or Moses basket, as they can increase the risk of SIDS. Only use a sheet and/or securely tucked-in blankets, or a baby sleeping bag, as bedding for your baby.

FAQS AT A GLANCE

  • As a rule of thumb, your baby’s room should be at a temperature that you find comfortable yourself. The ideal range is
    between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius.

  • The ideal temperature for the room where your baby sleeps is between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius. To check if your baby isn’t too hot or cold feel the skin on the back of his or her neck or tummy. If it feels cold, you might need to add an extra blanket or layer of clothing. (Cooler hands and feet are normal and not necessarily a sign that your baby feels cold.)

  • Signs your baby may be too hot:

    • Damp sweaty skin and/or hair
    • Skin on the tummy or back of neck feels hot (not just warm)
    • Flushed cheeks
    • Restlessness
    • Crying.

The Bottom Line

Good sleep is important for your baby’s well-being, and if your baby’s room is kept at a cool and comfortable temperature, he or she is more likely to sleep safely and comfortably.

And it’s not only your baby that benefits from a good night’s sleep – more uninterrupted sleep for your little one can also mean more shuteye for you. In the first few weeks and months after your baby is born, even a little extra downtime can mean a lot!

How we wrote this article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS). You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.