Babies regulate their temperature through the head, particularly the face since most babies would be fully covered in sleepsuits, swaddled, or be in full length pajamas with booties and mittens on.
Get a room thermometer!
You can create a safe and ideal environment for your baby to sleep by keeping the temperature in the room between 16 degrees celsius and 20 degree celsius. A basic room thermometer can aid in keeping an eye on the temperature.
Be mindful on the layers of clothing
It is crucial that your baby is able to regulate their temperature, so be mindful how many layers of clothing you put on them especially in our tropical weather. They should not be too hot or too cold or they run the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), or cot/crib death. SIDS are more prone to babies in their second month.
Nearly 90 per cent of cases of SIDS happen in babies under six months old. But the risk reduces as your baby grows older, and very few cases of SIDS happen after a year.
There is no actual data in Malaysia but based on regional rates such as those in Singapore, HK and Japan, it should be 2 in 1000 infants. This is comparable to western data (Gracious Little Things interview with paediatrician Dr Cham).
When checking baby’s temperature, check baby’s core temperature by touching his or her tummy or the back of their necks. If he feels hot or is sweaty remove a layer off and check again. Don’t be too concerned if baby’s hands and feet feel cool, this is completely normal.
On very hot days, keep your baby cool by closing the curtains or blinds if the sun is shining in and aerate the room by keeping the windows open. Remove all cot bumpers that can trap heat inside the cot. It is also recommended to remove cot bumpers because they pose risk of strangulation or suffocation.
Some families in Malaysia may only have an electric fan in baby’s room and it is fine for your baby to sleep in a vest or just a nappy. Just ensure that the fan is not directed straight to baby’s cot, and that it is just cooling the room down.
A quilt or duvet is not recommended
Sleeping with a duvet or quilt is not recommended for babies under a year old. If it does get chilly, opt for a sleeping bag without a hood. But because we don’t get winter in Malaysia be sure to select one that is suitable for summer (0.5 tog or 1 tog) and the right size to avoid baby sliding down in it.
To ensure there is no added heat in the room, never put a hot water bottle or anything that emanates heat near baby’s cot!