Sometimes air conditioning is amazing. At other times, it’s a nightmare. If you’re staying somewhere where the level of air conditioning in your baby’s room is too high and there’s nothing you can do about it, we explore a few solutions you can consider and advise how you should dress your baby at night to keep them healthy and happy.
Understanding the Problem
Babies are incredibly sensitive to temperatures and also find it difficult to regulate their body heat – causing them to be at risk of overheating as well as catching a cold. Most pediatricians recommend you keep your baby’s room between 68 to 72 degrees.
Unfortunately, there are certain situations where your baby’s room will be too cold, due to the strength of an air conditioning unit. For instance:
- When you’re staying in a hotel
- When visiting relatives
- When living in a building with a central air conditioning unit
- When your AC unit is out of control or your remote isn’t working properly
- When having strong AC is preferable to your child getting too hot
Obviously, if you can control the level of air conditioning in your baby’s room, it’s always important to set it at a suitable temperature for them – keeping them from getting neither too hot nor cold.
If your newborn is under 2 months, they will be especially susceptible to fluctuations in room temperature so it’s important to be vigilant about aggressive air conditioning and how you can compensate for this with clothing or other solutions.
Too Cold vs. Too Warm — What’s Worse?
Being too hot or too cold isn’t great for babies. For instance, research shows that you need to keep your baby from overheating because it has been linked to a greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
However, being too cold — especially for prolonged periods of time — will make it much harder for your baby to sleep, sap their energy and leave them more vulnerable to catching a cold or other illnesses.
Babies are incredibly sensitive to temperatures and also find it difficult to regulate their body heat.
How to Adjust Your Baby’s Sleepwear for Air Conditioning
While keeping your baby’s room at the right temperature is important, sometimes the only thing you can do is adjust your baby’s nightwear to keep them as warm as they need to be in aggressive air conditioning. Luckily, it’s easier to add layers to warm them up than it is to cool them down in extreme heat!
Keep in mind that a good general rule many parents follow is adding an extra later to your newborn than you are comfortable wearing yourself. So the first thing to do would be to get a measure of the situation by considering how many layers you would need to be comfortable at night in the same room.
If you’re reaching for a fleece and extra duvet, you know your little one will suffer if they’re not given enough layers!
Adding a few warm layers underneath a sleep suit or warm baby pajamas is always better than adding any loose blankets or sheets on top of your baby in order to keep them warm. Loose items are known to increase the risk of SIDS and your child will be perfectly happy with a warm romper and suitable sleep suit made from the right material in most cases.
As always, one you’ve made your clothing choice, keep an eye on how your baby responds throughout the night. You may find that they’re shivering and still too cold for the room temperature, or they may even be too hot if you’ve wrapped them up extra tight!
Learn more about choosing the right clothes for your baby in our guide: The Ultimate Guide to Buying Baby Clothes Online
Swaddles and Sleepsacks for Cozy Comfort in AC
We recommend opting for items that keep your baby’s limbs contained, such as an all-in-one sleepsuit like our Zipadee-Zips. These items trap warm air in and prevent your little one from getting a chill.
When considering how to dress babies for sleep in air conditioning, some parents may want to add socks, mittens and a hat, but when these items are pulled off accidentally in the night, they could cause a choking hazard.
For newborns under the age of 2 months, it’s still safe to swaddle them and this is often the best way to keep them cozy, warm and content at night. Just make sure you follow all the ABCs of safe sleep for babies, such as:
- Put your baby to sleep on their back
- Remove all accessories and soft bedding from the crib
- Don’t wrap your baby too tight (especially around the hips), which can lead to hip dysplasia
- Stop swaddling after 2 months or when your baby shows signs of rolling over
You can also opt for a premade Zippy Swaddle wrap like our Zippy Swaddle! This gives you a reliable way to make your baby feel safe and comfy at night — while also locking in important warmth so they don’t get too cold in aggressive air con.
Other Solutions and Tips for Air Conditioned Rooms
Sometimes a little creativity goes a long way when figuring out how to dress your baby for sleep in air conditioning. While you won’t want to rely on anything too “makeshift” for longer periods of time, having a few hacks in your back pocket when you turn up in a hotel room or relatives with aggressive air con can be priceless!
- Try closing the vents of your baby’s room air conditioning manually. Sometimes certain components can be maneuvered by hand to lessen the flow, but just be careful you don’t hurt yourself or damage the appliance!
- Blocking the AC vents can work in some cases. For instance, a large piece of furniture can be placed in front of it to lessen the air pressure, or a curtain can be pulled across it. In extreme cases, partly covering the vents with cardboard or something flat can also stop the flow somewhat. Just remember that this will not actually stop the flow of air
- Add a humidifier to your bay’s room which will add moisture and help to make it feel warmer
- Use a crib that doesn’t have gaps or a flannel/fabric sheet that blocks some of the airflow from the air conditioning
- Place the crib further away from the AC unit — rearranging the layout of the room so your baby is less exposed
Finally, always consider asking maintenance, the hotel staff or whoever is in charge of the AC unit in the property to lower the strength of it. It may be easier than you expect for them to do this and could save you time finding creative solutions to keep your baby comfortable.
Use a crib that doesn’t have gaps or a flannel/fabric sheet that blocks some of the airflow from the air conditioning.
Safe Sleep Tips for Infants
Safe sleep is about more than just temperature. There are a number of practices you should follow in summer and winter to keep your little one healthy during quite a vulnerable time in their development. A few things worth keeping in mind are:
- Once your infant learns to roll, you must stop swaddling
- Your little one should always be placed on their back on a firm surface for sleep
- Cribs should be free of loose-fitting sheets, bumpers, blankets, pillows, wedges, positioners, and stuffed animals
- When possible, sleep in the same room as your baby — which is known to reduce a baby’s risk of SIDS by up to 50 percent according to the AAP.
Final Thoughts On How to Dress Baby for Sleep in Air Conditioning
Dressing your baby for sleep in air conditioning isn’t that different to keeping them warm during winter or in colder climates.
There is an added risk that aggressive air con units will blow out air in an unnatural and potentially dangerous way for your child, but there are also a few creative ways to lessen the impact of this on your little one. However, we’d always recommend get broken air conditioning units fixed rather than relying on short-term solutions.