“Not just a matter of comfort”: Red Nose issues guidance about safe summer sleep
Research foundation Red Nose has issued guidance for parents and carers about safe summer sleep, and the importance of comfortable and safe temperatures for babies during sleep times.
Research has shown a link between overheating and an increased risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy, with Red Nose reminding parents and carers that summer sleep practices are not “just a matter of comfort”.
ACECQA promotes Red Nose as the recognised national authority on safe sleep practices for infants and children, with guidance given to services that policies and procedures should be based on current research, and recommended evidence-based principles and guidelines.
Red Nose suggest that babies should sleep on their back, with head and face uncovered, as the best way to protect against overheating. A simple way to ensure the head and face remain uncovered, Red Nose said, was to use a correctly sized sleeping bag, with fitted neck, armholes and no hood. If sheets or light blankets are used, these should be tucked in firmly on all sides, with the baby placed at the foot of the bed or cot.
No specific temperature for the room where a baby sleeps was recommended, with Red Nose advising that “it’s not necessary to monitor the room temperature or to leave the heating or cooling on continuously, as long as the baby is dressed appropriately for the room temperature”.
Red Nose advised that parents and carers should “dress the baby as you would dress yourself” and that if a sleeping bag was used, it should have a low TOG appropriate for warm weather. If blankets were used, it was best to use layers of lightweight blankets that can be added or removed easily..
To check the temperature of babies while asleep, Red Nose recommended touching the baby’s back or stomach, which should feel warm. They advised parents and carers not to worry if hands and feet felt cool, saying this was normal. In the event that the baby showed signs of heat stress – such as flushed and clammy skin – the recommendation is to remove some bedding or clothing and offer fluids.