- Dress baby and use layers as you would dress or use layers yourself: to be comfortable, neither too hot nor too cold
- Research has shown that baby’s risk of dying suddenly and unexpectedly is increased if baby is sleeping on the tummy and that risk is even further increased if baby is sleeping on the tummy under heavy bedding or if baby’s head becomes covered by bedding in any position.
- Baby manages heat loss very efficiently when placed on the back to sleep with his/her head uncovered.
- Sleep baby on the back and keep baby’s head uncovered during sleep to reduce baby’s risk of sudden unexpected death
- Make up baby’s bed so baby sleeps at the bottom of the cot and the blankets can only reach as far as baby’s chest, ensuring baby cannot move down during sleep and get his/her head covered by bedding
- Consider using a safe baby sleeping bag
- Dress baby for sleep and add/remove lightweight blankets to ensure baby’s chest feels comfortably warm to the touch
- Remove hats, bonnets and hooded clothing from baby’s head as soon as baby is indoors
Can we say exactly how many blankets to use when baby is placed to bed?
The simple answer is – No. SIDS and Kids recommend that rather than state how many bedclothes can be safely placed on a baby, to work out the amount of bedding to be used after considering these factors:
1. The room temperature where baby is sleeping
2. How hot does the baby feel? A good way to check baby’s temperature is to feel baby’s chest (don’t worry if baby’s hands, face and feet feel cool – this is normal)
3. Whether the baby has a cold or infection or another special need
4. Consider how many layers that you as the baby’s carer are wearing comfortably.
Sleeping baby in a safe baby sleeping bag has a number of features that help baby sleep safely. Research has shown that sleeping bag use will reduce the risk of bedclothes covering the baby’s face (see FAQ 15), will delay baby rolling onto the tummy during sleep until baby is past the age of peak risk of SUDI (L’Hoir et al 1998) and will keep baby’s temperature at a more constant level while sleeping at home (Sauseng et al 2011). If blankets are being used instead of a sleeping bag, it is best to use light weight blankets in layers that can be added or removed easily according to the room temperature and which can be tucked underneath the mattress. (For more information on how to prepare baby’s cot for sleep, see SIDS and Kids’ Making Up Baby’s Cot). Always remove hats or bonnets from baby as soon as you come indoors or enter a warm car, bus or train, even if it means waking the baby (Fleming et al 1996). Never use electric blankets, wheat bags or hot water bottles for babies.