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Help your baby sleep safely in the heat

Is your baby struggling to sleep because it's too hot? Follow our summer sleeping tips for little ones, including how to safely use a fan and ways to cool your baby before bed 

With temperatures soaring this week, you might be worried about your baby overheating, especially at bedtime. Follow these tips and recommendations for battling the heat and keeping your baby comfortable during these summer nights.

Figuring out how to get your baby to sleep can be a trying task at the best of times, but with this sweltering summer heat, you have added worries about the risks of overheating at night. 

According to The Lullaby Trust, the ideal room temperature for sleeping babies is 16-20°C, but during a heatwave like this, it might hard to keep it at this level. Instead, use our top tips below to reduce the temperature of the room as much as possible and keep your baby cool.

Lots of our best baby monitors have built-in temperature sensors that will tell you how hot or cold the nursery is so you can adjust accordingly

Safe sleeping for babies

The Lullaby Trust has some 'summer rules' for baby sleep, including lighter bedding and clothing, and opening doors and windows where possible to facilitate airflow. Make sure you are only using light cotton bed sheets in this heat and try to avoid waterproof mattress protectors as these can cause your baby to sweat.

Just like you, your baby needs sufficient fluids on hot days. You can give cooled boiled water to bottle-fed babies under six months, and tap water to bottle-fed babies over six months. Fully breastfed babies won't need any extra water, though.

Best baby bottles - find out the pros and cons of the different types of bottles for your baby

5 ways to keep your baby cool in the heat 

Electric fan

See our top tips on cooling your baby and their room during a heatwave. 

  1. Use a fan. If you want to use a fan in your baby's room, make sure it is not aimed directly at the child.
  2. Buy a bag of ice. Lucy Shrimpton, the Sleep Nanny, recommends placing a large bowl of ice in front of the fan to cool the air being circulated. 
  3. Freeze water bottles. Lucy also mentions putting big bottles of frozen water in the room that will cool the air as they melt. 
  4. Bath before bed. Give your baby a lukewarm bath before they go to bed. 
  5. Use a room thermometer or baby monitor. Eliminate the guesswork. A room thermometer or baby monitor with temperature sensors can tell you instantly whether the room is too hot (above 20°C).

Check your baby's temperature 

baby sleeping in a cot

You should try to keep the room temperature between 16 and 20°C and this can be checked with a room thermometer. However, during extreme temperatures, this might not be possible, so it's important to find ways to reduce the temperature of the room as much as you can, as well using a variety of methods to keep your baby cool.

If you don't have a room thermometer, check your baby monitor. Typically many baby monitors tell you the temperature of the room. Go to our baby monitor reviews to see which ones we've tested. 

Make sure to keep your baby out of direct sunlight and read our guide to baby bedding safety for a full list of what sheets and blankets you need for your baby. 

Choose the right sleepwear (or leave them to sleep just in their nappy) and opt for lightweight bedding to ensure their comfort and safety. 

We've rounded up our best air conditioners and top electric fans to help you and your baby stay cool this summer

How to check if your baby is too hot 

Baby in cot
  • Feel your baby's chest or the back of their neck. If their skin is hot or sweaty, remove one or more layers of bedding or bedclothes.
  • Don't use your baby's hands and feet to judge temperature as these will usually be cooler than the rest of their body.
  • If you swaddle your baby, check their temperature to ensure they're not too hot. Use thin materials, don't swaddle above the shoulders or too tightly, and never put a swaddled baby to sleep on their front.

The best cot mattresses will help your baby have a safe night's sleep, keep them comfortable and cope with the inevitable leaks

Safe sleeping when you're out and about with your baby 

Pushchair with parasol

Prams and buggies shouldn't be covered with blankets, clothes or any other cover that prevents the air circulating and could lead to overheating, increasing the chances of SIDS. 

We tested a number of materials to see how quickly they would heat up the air inside your pram. Find out which sun covers cause pushchairs to overheat

The Lullaby Trust says: 'Using a cover also creates a barrier between parent and baby, which is slightly risky as parents won't be able to see if their baby is having difficulties or monitor their temperature easily.' 

Instead, attach a clip-on sunshade or parasol, regularly check if your baby is getting too hot by feeling their chest or back of their neck and keep them out of direct sunlight as much as possible. 

If you're carrying your baby in a carrier or sling, follow the 'TICKS' rules for safe baby-wearing, and read our guide to baby carrier safety to learn about safe positioning for your baby.

See all our baby carrier and sling reviews

Help your baby to sleep safely on holiday 

Baby in a travel cot
  • If you're on holiday in hot temperatures, use lighter bedding and clothing, and open the bedroom door and window for ventilation, if it's safe. 
  • Use a fan to cool the room if hot but don't aim it directly towards the baby. 
  • Don't place folded towels or blankets under travel cot mattresses to make them feel 'more comfortable'. A baby's mattress should be firm to help guard against suffocation. 
  • Make sure the travel cot isn't against a radiator or in direct sunlight, and keep blind cords and other hazards out of the way.
  • Keep your baby well hydrated in hot weather. Give bottle-fed babies cooled boiled water in addition to their usual milk feeds.

Travel cot safety: what every parent needs to know