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Safe Summer Sleep

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

8 easy tips to beat the heat and keep your baby sleeping safe

It is important to prevent baby from overheating. Babies are unable to tell us if they are too hot or too cold and overheating is a risk factor for unsafe sleep.

1. The ABCs

Regardless of the season or location, a baby ALWAYS sleep safest, alone on their back and in a crib or other firm flat surface, like a pack-n-play. This is the safest way for a baby to sleep, including naps.

2. Know the signs of overheating

Babies can overheat quickly.

  • Baby feels warm to the touch - check their neck, back and chest to make sure they are a comfortable temperature.

  • Baby's skin is sweaty, overly red or overly pale, clammy skin.

  • Some babies might vomit.

  • Baby's heart rate or breathing is rapid - this is a late sign of overheating.

  • Baby has a fever but isn't sweating, they may be overheating.

  • Baby is lethargic or isn't responding to your touch or tickles or seems less animated than usual.

  • A baby who is overheating will seem disoriented and may faint.

  • If baby falls asleep, he or she might be difficult to rouse.

Take baby indoors or into the shade and remove all clothing. Use a cool, wet cloth to try to bring the baby's temperature down and if the baby is conscious try to help him or her ingest liquids while you wait for help to arrive (you should call for medical help if you believe your baby has overheated). For more information about temperature related illnesses, visit Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters website.

3. Clothing

If it is a really hot day, sometimes a diaper and sunscreen is the best outfit your baby can wear. Keep your baby cool by exposing their skin to fresh air. When choosing an outfit light, cotton material is the best when it comes to clothing. Pick hats that have ventilation so that heat has a way to escape. If the clothing has UPF, even better!

At night or during naps, your baby should not sweat during sleep. Keep a baby's room between 68-72 degrees. Pajamas should be made of soft, breathable material like cotton, jersey or muslin/linen. Be sure that if your baby is swaddled or in a sleep sack that the material is also breathable. And hey, only a diaper is totally acceptable too!

4. The hottest part of the day

Heat continues building up after noon, when the sun is highest in the sky. By 3 p.m. the day has reached peak heat. Best bet, plan for indoor activities from 11am-4pm.

5. Dehydration

Babies need to stay extra hydrated in the warmer months. Young babies should be able to nurse or drink on demand if you are spending a lot of time outside or if your home is warmer in the summer. Older, more mobile babies and toddlers can have a hard time stopping to drink, so it's up to their caregivers to pay close attention to how much they've had to drink.

In the summer, not only do babies dehydrate faster, but so do nursing moms. Their own dehydration stacks on top of being the source of hydration for an extra thirsty baby. Always carry a bottle of water with you and try to get an extra one or two in during the day. Drink a big glass of water when you first get up for the day. Dads/partners, bring mom a glass of water if you see her nursing the baby to show some extra care and attention to a body that is working double time.

6. Naps in the stroller

We always recommend moving baby to a firm, flat surface as soon as possible.