What Is the Ideal Room Temperature for a Newborn?

Discover where to set your thermostat and how to dress your baby for ultimate safety and comfort.

Medically reviewed by Wendy L. Hunter, M.D.

The ideal room temperature for a newborn is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. You should aim to keep the room within that range to avoid health complications that could arise from leaving your newborn in a room that is too hot or too cold.

Bringing a new baby home can be both joyful and stressful—especially when it comes to creating a comfortable and safe sleeping environment. Aside from making sure you put your baby on their back to sleep and clear their crib from any hazards, it's also important to consider room temperature for your newborn.

A chilly nursery can make your baby fussy and bring their body temperature too low. Meanwhile, an overheated bedroom may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), especially if your baby is sleeping in warm clothes or over-bundled.

Learn how to get room temperature just right for your newborn and tips for dressing your baby for a safe and cozy sleep.

<p> AleksandarNakic / Getty Images </p>

AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

What Room Temperature Is Just Right?

According to pediatric sleep experts, your newborn's room should be between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 20 to 22 degrees Celsius). That temperature tends to be comfortable for children and adults, too–not too hot, not too cold.

Why Room Temperature Is Important for Newborns

Regulating the temperature of your baby's room is an important step in the prevention of SIDS and ensuring that your baby sleeps safely.

If a room is too hot

Overheating is a major risk factor for SIDS. SIDS deaths are most common in winter, which suggests that indoor temperature regulation plays a role in a baby's risk for the syndrome.

Overly warm temperatures are thought to increase SIDS risk by stressing a newborn's immature thermal regulation system. This can impact their breathing and heart rate and make it harder for them to wake up—and cry out—if they are experiencing a health issue.

If a room is too cold

Overly cold temperatures can put a baby at risk of hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when body temperature drops to a dangerously low level, which can damage your baby's organs. Because newborns have a higher ratio of skin surface to body mass and tend to have lower fat stores, they lose body heat four times faster than adults.

Premature babies have an especially challenging time regulating their body temperature and are at an increased risk for hypothermia. So it's especially important to pay close attention to the temperature of preemies' rooms and dress them appropriately.

Signs Your Baby Is Too Hot or Too Cold

Babies can't regulate their body temperature like adults do, so it's important to recognize and respond to cues that your baby is at risk of overheating or hypothermia.

  • To check if your baby is too warm: Take two fingers and feel around the nape of their neck and the ears. If your baby's ears are red or if their neck is sweaty, your baby is likely too hot.

  • To assess whether your baby might be too cold: Feel their hands and feet. Although everyone's extremities are usually cooler than the rest of the body, hands and feet that are very chilly to the touch are early indications that your baby is too cold.

Related: 20 Signs of Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion in Kids

Maintaining the Ideal Temperature for Sleep

Just because the thermostat in the main part of the house is showing 68 to 72 degrees does not mean that your baby's room is in that ideal zone.

You can monitor your baby's room temperature with a phone app or indoor thermometer. In most cases, if the room is comfortable for you in normal indoor clothing, the temperature is likely safe. If you feel chilly or too warm, then the temperature likely isn't appropriate for your baby.

To monitor a room's temperature more easily and reduce SIDS risk, you might consider room-sharing during the newborn period. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends placing a crib or bassinet with a firm mattress in your room and having your baby sleep there until they're at least 6 months old.

Related: The Truth About the Benefits and Risks of Co-Sleeping

Keeping Your Newborn Safe in Warm Weather

The following are ways to keep your baby safe and comfortable when it's warm outside, such as during the summer:

  • Use air conditioning if available: Aim to keep the room where your baby sleeps between 68 and 72 degrees.

  • Open the window and use fans: Fresh air and breezes can help cool down a hot room if you don't have access to A/C.

  • Keep the crib or bassinet away from A/C units: Avoid placing your baby directly in the air stream if you have air conditioning, as it tends to be extra cold.

  • Dress your baby in light layers: Dress your baby in lighter, breathable clothing.

Keeping Your Newborn Safe in Cold Weather

Here are some suggestions for keeping a baby safe and comfortable in colder temperatures during the winter:

  • Rely on indoor heat: Aim to keep the room where your baby sleeps between 68 and 72 degrees.

  • Avoid space heaters: They can make an area too hot and be a fire hazard.

  • Dress your baby in light layers: Be sure to never over-bundle your baby, and avoid putting a winter hat on your baby while indoors, as their head is important in regulating body temperature.

  • Keep comforters, quilts, and blankets out of the crib: Your baby may accidentally become trapped underneath crib bedding and get overheated or suffocate.

How to Dress Your Newborn for Bedtime

Simple is best and safest. For sleep, your baby should always wear a base layer, like a onesie, and snug and secure additional layers as needed. A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby in one more light layer than you'd be comfortable wearing.

The AAP recommends that you not use loose blankets in cribs. As a result, many parents opt for sleep sacks or wearable blankets, especially in the winter months. To determine which sleep sack is best for your baby, look at the product's thermal overall grade (TOG), which indicates how many blankets the sleepsack is equivalent to.

For instance, sleep sacks with a TOG of 1.2 or lower are recommended for use in the spring and summer, while those with ratings of 2 to 2.5 or higher are recommended for fall and winter. For most babies, this includes a onesie and a sleep sack or a sleeper that fits appropriately.

Once you put your baby down to sleep, check on them periodically to be sure they are not too hot or too cold. You may have to adjust what your baby wears to bed until you find something that works for your baby and your home environment.

Related: Are Weighted Sleep Sacks Safe for Babies?

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