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Are baby sleep sacks safe?

Sleep sacks are a really popular choice for new parents, and they are a sleep time solution that is perfectly safe to use if you follow a few key safety rules. Having the right fit and thickness for your baby’s age is key, as well as ensuring their cot is clear of other accessories. By keeping in mind the safety basics, you can find a sleep sack that is perfect for your baby, helping you both sleep better at night.

Snug as a bug: Getting the right fit                      

One of the main problems with many sleep sacks is that there can be a lot of excess fabric. When the sack is too big for your baby, there’s a risk that they will slip down inside the sack when they’re sleeping. It’s in these situations that there can be problems, especially if they struggle to breathe.

This worry can be avoided with sleep sacks that are designed to prevent slipping. Products like the Love To Dream swaddle, a zip up sleep suit, are specially designed to hold your baby in place with their arms up and a snug fit. Gently keeping them in this natural position, with the help of special arm wings, not only helps them to fall asleep more easily but also ensures that their faces and airways are always clear. If you opt for a normal sleep sack, make sure that it is the right fit for the age of your baby, avoiding ones that span a large age range and are suitable for use for much older babies and toddlers.

Bedtime minimalism

When it comes to cots, the design buzzword is minimalism. Avoid crowding your little one with teddies, pillows or blankets and keep their sleeping space as clear as possible. The Lullaby Trust, a charity specialising in raising awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) says that: “New parents now have a massive range of baby products to choose from and it can be really confusing to know what is needed. Our advice is simple: the safest cot is a clear cot.” With this in mind, hold back on all the pretty accessories and use them in other places in the nursery. Your baby will be much safer with a minimalist sleeping space.

Instead of duvets and blankets, a sleep sack is a great choice. However, with many sleep sack designs there is some risk of your baby rolling. Choosing a swaddle like the Love To Dream suit keeps your baby’s arms in an angel wing position, making it harder for them to accidentally turn over in their sleep. As they get older and start trying to roll over on their own, you can transition to an arms-free sleep sack so that if they do roll over, they can turn themselves over again.

Not too hot, not too cold

The other thing to bear in mind is your baby’s body temperature. Unlike adults, your baby can’t control its own body temperature and they won’t know to kick off the sheets when it gets too warm or put on an extra jumper when they’re feeling chilly. To keep them comfortable at all times, their room should ideally be between 16-20°C. At the same time, you also need to make sure that they have the right tog count for their sleep sack to keep them warm.

Avoiding chills and overheating is simple if you follow the manufacturer guidelines, which should state which tog is right for the season and the temperature in your home. For instance, a 0.2 tog sleep sack is best for summer temperatures, from 24-27°C, with just a short sleeve bodysuit underneath. For lower temperatures, adding long sleeve pyjamas on top of their bodysuit and a tog of 2.0 or 2.5 may be better. Remember to check on your baby’s temperature by feeling their chest or back: it should be warm but not hot or clammy. This is the perfect excuse for a bedtime snuggle.

Choosing the right sleep sack

Sleep sacks are safe as long as you choose a design that prevents slipping and rolling when your baby is asleep. It is really important that they are fitted properly, without excess fabric that they can slide into. As long as your sleep sack is snug and suited to the room temperature, your baby should be able to sleep soundly and safely.

For more tips and advice on safe sleep, read advice from our sleep experts or visit the Lullaby Trust website which is packed full of useful information.