It’s hard to get our children to have a full night’s sleep even on the best of days. So when you find yourself in the middle of a heatwave, it gets much trickier to get them off to bed, and keep them there.
The Lullaby Trust has also warned parents that babies who get too hot are at an increased risk of SIDS, or cot death. To reduce the chance of SIDS, the ideal temperature of a baby’s room should be 16-20°C.
However, every baby is different and it’s important to check if their chest or the back of their neck feels clammy as this is a sign they are getting too hot.
Here’s how to keep your cool and follow these sleeping tips to make sure your child gets the best and safest rest possible.
1. Keep your child’s room out of direct sunlight during the day.
Try and keep curtains or blinds drawn during the day, but with the windows open behind to keep the air circulating. This means the room has less of a chance to become stuffy.
Andrea Grace, an Infant Sleep Consultant told HuffPost UK: “Keep the bedroom blinds or curtains closed during the day, especially if your child’s cot or bed gets direct sunlight.”
2. Use a small fan.
Lots of parents worry that the noise of a fan will keep their baby or child awake, but they get used to it quickly - especially if you have one on in other parts of the house during the day. Don’t leave it pointing in their face though, as this is likely to bother them.
3. Give them a cool bath.
Vicki Dawson from the Children’s Sleep Charity told HuffPost UK: “Try running a cool bath before bed.” This will help bring their temperature down.
4. Use a nursery thermometer.
The NHS advises that your baby will sleep most comfortably between 16 and 20 degrees, so remember to check the thermometer, and the temperature in the cot, regularly before they go to sleep.
5. Reduce the amount of clothing they are wearing.
Infant Sleep Consultant, Helen Broadhead, said: “Keep night wear to a minimum in hot weather, this can be just a nappy”.
And if they tend to kick the covers off during the night, try putting them on a fitted sheet as this should help to keep their body temperature down.
6. Make sure the sheets are cotton.
Other types of bedding can make your baby warmer, especially a waterproof mattress cover, which can encourage sweating.
7. Watch out for dehydration.
Remember that your baby being irritable at night might not just be because of the heat, it might also be down to dehydration. Helen Broadhead said: “Make sure they drink plenty of water during the day and they may want a drink of water in the night too.”
If you are breastfeeding, you don’t need to give your baby water as well, but if you are bottle feeding, give them cooled boiled water too.
8. Cool flannel on the forehead.
If your baby is really irritated and struggling to settle, try placing a damp flannel on their forehead for short intervals, as this will calm them down (and a calm baby is a cooler baby).