How To Keep Toddler Warm At Night (No More Cold Night Wake-Ups!)

How To Keep Toddler Warm At Night

Article by Jessica Pierce – Registered Nurse & Nationally Registered Paramedic

As the temperature drops and the nights get cooler, it’s important to prepare your whole family for the chilly weather.

We know that it’s more difficult for children to regulate their body temperature than it is for adults. So, what should you be doing as a parent to make sure that your child stays warm throughout the fall and winter months?

Things like night time wake ups and poor sleep can happen more often when a toddler is too cold, which may be stressful for tired, concerned parents. In this article, I’ll explain why it is so important to keep your child’s room as well as the child themselves warm enough all through the night.

Keep reading to learn why the right temperature matters, and how to achieve that consistently for your child in spite of the winter chill!

This article in not a substitute for medical advice.

Is My Toddler Too Cold At Night? – Signs To Look Out For

How can you tell if your child is warm enough at night? Here is a short list of things to look out for to clue you in on your toddler’s comfort levels.

  • They feel cold – The “touch test” is a great way to check your child’s temperature without waking them up from sleep. Simply put your hand on their tummy or the back of their head, and notice how warm or cool it feels. If they feel cool, they might be a bit chilly1.
  • Frequent wake ups – One great reason to keep your baby warm at night is to prevent them from waking up due to being too cold. Babies and toddlers are sensitive to temperature, and being cold can cause them to awaken more frequently during the night, disrupting everyone’s sleep.
  • Other signs your toddler is too cold – Shivering, pale or blue skin, limpness, irritability, and fatigue2.

How Can I Keep My Toddler Warm At Night?

Not sure what to do to keep your little one warm? Afraid that you might have to resort to piling on blanket after blanket? Don’t worry – there are a lot more things you can do to keep your toddler cozy while they sleep.

Here are several of the most frequently suggested tips, tricks, and life hacks for helping your baby or toddler maintain a comfortable body temperature all through the night.

1. Keep The Room Temperature In A Comfortable Range

The recommended sleeping temperature for toddlers ranges between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit3. The ideal room temperature keeps a baby warm at night without running the risk of them becoming too hot and being put at risk for dangerous overheating.

How Can I Keep My Toddler Warm At Night Without A Blanket

Several good options for maintaining this ideal temperature during the colder months include putting your child to sleep in a room that has fewer windows and keeping a separate thermometer in their room to monitor the temperature4.

If your baby sleeps in a room that is extra drafty, consider moving them to a different room during the winter to help keep them warm.

2. Adding Extra Layers Or A Blanket To Bedding

Once babies reach their first birthday, it should be safe for them to be tucked in with a blanket at bedtime. Simply be mindful of the bedding layers you add so that your child’s bed is still a safe and comfortable place for them to sleep.

Bedding made of jersey or flannel materials or even polar fleece sheets can feel much warmer at night than other materials. Make sure that the sheets you use fit snugly over your child’s mattress so that you don’t get woken up in the middle of the night to fix uncomfortable wrinkles caused by loose sheets.

3. Keep Their Mattress Warm

In addition to keeping your baby room warm, you can keep out the cold by placing a warm (not hot!) bottle or heating pad on their bed where they will lay before you put them down to sleep.

However, make sure you remove the heating device before you put them in the bed! You don’t want to risk your baby or toddler getting burns from coming in contact with anything that’s hot enough to damage their delicate skin.

How Can I Keep My Toddler Warm At Night

4. Dress Your Child In Warm PJs Or Sleep Sack

Proper sleepwear is one of the best ways to keep kids warm at night. The appropriate sleepwear options differ somewhat depending on your child’s age.

You can also consider a sleep sack for your toddler. Sleep sacks are a great option for keeping babies warm because they provide all-over covers without loose blankets in your baby’s crib. They are a great solution not only for newborn and small babies – sleep bags are perfect for keeping your toddler warm during winter and cold night, too! You just need to choose the right sleep sack for your toddler with high TOG rating.

One of the biggest benefits of using a sleep sack is that it’s impossible for a toddler to kick it off during the night like they would a blanket.

To keep a baby warm, dressing them in footed jammies is a good alternative to a sleep sack. This provides a greater range of mobility for a growing baby while still keeping your child warm at night. You could also consider adding mittens to baby’s hands to keep little fingers warm at night.

For keep your toddler warm, cotton pajamas are a must. Choose pajamas with long sleeves, and tuck them into bed with a cozy blanket.

As I explain in my other article, toddlers can sleep with socks on – just make sure they are not too tight and don’t cause any pressure point around ankles. Warm socks made of breathable merino wool can keep cold air from tickling your little one’s feet.

Older kids will be better able to self-select what they are comfortable sleeping in as they learn to communicate.

5. TOG Rating For Winter

As I briefly mentioned above, one of the important things to take into account when selecting pajamas albo sleep sacks for your child is the TOG rating. TOG stands for “thermal overall grade” and is a rating system that defines how light weight or heavy duty a material is.

If you are able to keep your child’s room temperature consistently in the optimal range, a TOG rating of one or 1.5 is usually perfectly fine. For colder temperatures below 68°F ratings of TOG 2 to 2.5 are ideal.

If you aren’t sure what the tog rating of your child’s pajamas are, check the garment tag or the manufacturer’s website. Many online tools are also available to help you determine which tog rating is best for your location and climate.

Things NOT To Do When You Want To Keep A Sleeping Baby Warm

While keeping your little one warm at night is very important, overdoing it can actually lead to a dangerous sleep environment. Overheating during the night has been linked to higher rates of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome – the unexplained death of a child who is less than one year old5.

Especially for a new mom, worrying about how to keep your baby warm and safe while they are sleeping is a very common concern. But don’t be too worried, mama – I’ll break down the best way to make sure your baby doesn’t get overheated.

Is My Toddler Too Cold At Night

Here are a few of the most important safety precautions to follow during the winter time to prevent your baby or toddler from overheating:

  • Avoid bundling them in too many layers – Especially if baby’s room is already nice and warm, they don’t need layer upon layer of sleepwear to stay at a comfortable temperature. Experts recommend dressing babies in one more clothing layers than an adult would need to feel cozy6.
  • Don’t use a space heater if you won’t be in the room – While electric heaters or panel heaters can be very warm, there’s no way to completely fireproof them, and it’s easy for them to get too warm and cause burns if they come in contact with the delicate skin of a baby or toddler7.
  • Stay away from electric blankets – Besides being a fire hazard, electric blankets can become very hot and cause burns as well. Keep all electric devices clear of your child’s bed, and focus on other ways to keep out the cold.
  • Remember, toddlers are curious – It’s all too easy for a sneaky little on to touch something that could hurt them. Heaters could also tip over onto a child and cause serious injury.

Keeping Toddlers Warm At Night – FAQ

Still have more questions? Look no further – below, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most commonly asked questions about how to keep your toddler warm at night without running the risk of overheating.

Is It Safe To Use Blankets To Keep Toddler Warm At Night?

While it’s not safe to use blankets to keep your baby warm, keeping toddlers warm at night with a blanket is generally perfectly safe. Who doesn’t love sleeping snuggled up under the covers?!

One thing to remember, though, is that children under the age of five years old may not know or be able to pull blankets back up over themselves if they kick their bedding off in the middle of the night8. For this reason, younger children may benefit from a sleep sack that they cannot kick off of themselves.

Is It Safe To Use Blankets To Keep Toddler Warm At Night

Is A Blanket Or A Sleep Sack Better For My Toddler?

While sleep sacks are typically preferred for younger infants, it might be tempting to continue using them for your growing toddler for as long as sleep sacks fit them. But is this a good idea?

According to article by Cleveland Health9, toddlers can safely sleep in sleep sacks until they are either two years old or exceed the weight and height recommendations for the specific sleep sack you are using.

So in short, until your growing child is too tall or heavy to fit comfortably into their sleep sacks, they are a great way to keep baby warm at night! By the time your child outgrows their sleep sack, they should be able to sleep safely with a blanket.

How Can I Keep My Toddler Warm At Night Without A Blanket?

Learning to layer clothing is one of the best ways to keep a baby or toddler warm all night and ensure the whole family gets a good night’s sleep.

Recommended sleep clothing layers range change based on the temperature of the room your baby will sleep in. Start with a thinner base layer made of a breathable fabric, add an insulating second layer like a sleep sack or footie PJs, and top off with another wearable blanket if needed.

Again, if your baby is older than one year of age, it is safe for them to have blankets in their bed. Consider tucking their blanket in under their mattress to ensure it won’t come up over their head or face during the night if they toss and turn while they are sleeping.

What Temperature Should A Toddler's Room Be At Night

What Temperature Should A Toddler’s Room Be At Night?

The best room temperature for keeping a toddler warm at night is between 68-72°F. Some affordable ways to keep your baby warm in the winter include moving them to an interior room with fewer windows, adding thermal curtains, and adding an extra layer.

If you live in a more extreme climate where it is difficult or impossible to keep your child’s room at a comfortable temperature all night long, consider adding a blanket or additional warming layer to your child’s sleepwear and double checking on them before you go to bed to ensure they are comfortable.

Putting it All Together

Well, there you have it – the best advice on how to beat the cold and keep your baby warm at night! From sleep sacks to cozy merino wool socks, breathable footed pajamas and even a blanket or two, you now have access to a whole inventory of options for your toddler.

Article By Jessica Pierce, RN

Jessica Pierce is Registered Nurse, Nationally Registered Paramedic, writer, and contemporary dance artist based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She holds two undergraduate degrees from Oral Roberts University – a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (2018) and a Bachelor’s of Art in Dance Performance (2019).

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.


About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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