Health and Wellness: Snuggly, safe baby

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department

Parents and caregivers tend to use extra blankets or many layers of clothing to keep babies warm. But did you know overheating is linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)? A young baby’s body is not yet efficient in regulating body temperature, and this can affect how the heart and other body systems function.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises adjusting the room temperature so it’s comfortable for you and baby. If you’re in shorts and a T-shirt, baby doesn’t need to be bundled in numerous layers.

If the room is on the cool side, dress baby in several layers. Researchers think blankets, and clothing such as hats that can slide down and cover an infant’s face, present a risk. Avoid loose blankets underneath or covering baby; instead use a wearable “sleep sack.” This type of garment that’s like a sleeping bag with sleeves cannot work up over baby’s face. Watch baby for signs of overheating, including sweating or baby’s chest feeling hot to the touch.

The non-profit March of Dimes reminds parents and caregivers to always place baby on their back to sleep, on a firm and flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib.