Should Babies Sleep With Socks On? (Is It Safe?)

Should Babies Sleep With Socks On

Article by Jessica Pierce – Registered Nurse & Nationally Registered Paramedic

As a new (or veteran!) parent, you may be worried about whether your baby is warm enough at night, or concerned that you might “over-do” it with layers when you put your little one down to sleep, putting them at risk for overheating. Does baby need to wear socks to bed? What about mittens, or both?

You’ve probably also heard dozens upon dozens of stories, anecdotes, and old wives’ tales about whether or not socks are safe for nighttime sleep, especially for newborn babies. You may have heard that babies don’t regulate their temperature as well as grown-ups, and are unsure what is best for yours.

Rest assured, whether or not you put your baby to sleep with socks on doesn’t make you a better or worse parent! There are instances where this could be a good thing to do, and times you don’t need to.

If these questions resonate with you, keep reading – this article will dispel any worry or fears you might have about infant sleepwear, and set both you and your baby up for a great night’s sleep.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice or consultation.

Should My Baby Wear Socks To Bed?

First things first: does every baby NEED to wear socks to bed at night?

The quick and easy answer is…drumroll please…maybe!

There’s no hard and fast answer that applies one hundred percent of the time when it comes to whether or not your baby should sleep in socks.

The best practice will depend on where you live, what season it is, and other factors that will be different for each baby1! Let’s talk about some of those things now.

At What Age Can Babies Start Sleeping With Socks On

At What Age Can Babies Start Sleeping With Socks On?

Is a baby ever too young or small to wear socks? In general, no – what’s important is the type of socks you choose to place on baby’s feet and the temperature they will be sleeping in2.

Firstly, what will the temperature be at sleep time? Baby socks are tiny and adorable, but it they could cause your newborn to overheat, it’s not really worth it, is it?

If you’re living in a very cold area, a thick wool sock or bootie could be your answer. If the climate is more mild where you live, a few thin pairs of cotton socks might be all that you need for your baby’s feet.

It’s not just about comfort, either – a great way to lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is to monitor the room temperature that your baby will sleep in to avoid overheating3.

Here are a few other frequently asked questions about when it is safe and/or recommended for babies to wear socks at bedtime.

Are Socks Safe For Newborns?

As you likely know, infants aren’t able to properly regulate their body temperatures4 until they are nearly two years old. This is why most babies are given a hat in the hospital right after they are born!

The head, hands, and feet are three of the biggest areas where heat is lost for both adults and infants. Keeping baby’s feet warm is a key strategy for helping them stay safe and feel comfortable when the temperature drops during cooler weather.

Some sources suggest putting babies to sleep in mittens as well as socks – why is this? There are warming benefits for keeping your baby’s hands covered – but if their outfit is appropriate for the temperature they will be sleeping in, this may not be necessary.

Another reason parents may place mittens on their newborns’ hands is to prevent them from scratching themselves with their fingernails.

Do Socks Help Babies To Sleep Better

Should Newborns Keep Socks On?

If babies wear socks to bed, the socks should stay on unless you take them off. If you notice your little one is flushed or sweating, they’re too hot, and extra layers of clothing should be removed5.

Child health experts recommend parents monitor their child’s comfort levels at night to prevent overheating or discomfort. Toddlers and older children are able to remove clothing that is restrictive or uncomfortable for them, but babies can’t.

Baby Wearing Socks To Bed – Potential Dangers

One potential danger of letting babies wear socks to bed is the possibility of the socks coming off while baby sleeps and becoming a choking or suffocation hazard. This isn’t terribly likely, but some parents find it stressful enough to look for alternatives to putting their babies to sleep in socks.

One way to keep this possible risk minimal is to observe good sleep hygiene for your baby6.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping any loose objects out of your baby’s crib while they sleep. Other things, like always putting your baby to sleep soundly on their back and on a firm surface, also minimize the risk of suffocation from anything that may come loose overnight7.

Observing good sleep hygiene is a critical step to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as well as making sure your baby is comfortable and getting good sleep.

Second hazard is your baby getting too… warm! Did you know that overheating is actually a bigger threat than being cold – because it increases the risk of SIDS? That’s why it’s so important to set the right temperature for baby’s room and monitor your little one for any signs of overheating.

There’s one more thing to remember if you want to let your baby to sleep with socks on: circulation problems. Make sure that baby socks are not too tight and don’t restrict blood flow – otherwise sleeping with socks on can become really unsafe for your baby.

Do Socks Help Babies To Sleep Better?

For some babies, wearing socks to bed can help improve sleep8 and reduce cold night wake ups. It’s difficult to get good rest with cold feet (especially during the winter months), so covering up those tiny tootsies can help a chilly little one to sleep soundly all night.

How Do I Keep My Baby's Socks On At Night

How Do I Keep My Baby’s Socks On At Night?

One helpful life hack is to cover your baby’s feet in socks that are longer in length. Think crew socks, which rise to the mid-calf area, or knee high socks.

Here’s an important safety consideration, however: avoid socks that are excessively tight around your baby’s feet or ankles! Socks that are too tight can cut off circulation to the feet or even leave scar marks which may become permanent, called sock line bands9. Go for tall, not tight to keep baby’s socks on!

Ideally, you want a pair of baby socks that will fit their tiny feet snugly, but won’t obstruct blood flow to their feet. If your baby doesn’t seem to like wearing socks or has trouble sleeping with them on, however, consider alternative ways to cover those little feet!

Best Alternatives To Socks To Keep Baby’s Feet Warm At Night

If you’re still wary of putting socks on your little ones, here are some safe and healthy alternatives:


A swaddled baby can sleep better in general, due to the comforting constriction of the swaddling blankets. By nature, swaddling your baby covers up their feet, along with the rest of their body. This can help keep your tiny bundle of joy warm from head to toe all night long.

An important consideration to remember, however, is this: don’t continue to swaddle a child who is able to roll over. Once your baby is rolling back to front, they need to have their arms and legs free so they can prevent themselves from getting stuck face down in their bassinet or crib10.

Sleep Sack

Basically a transition piece between a swaddling blanket and regular infant pajamas, sleep sacks are just that – a sack for sleeping in.

The standard sleep sack has a hole for baby’s head and a pair of sleeves, but instead of having pants legs, the whole bottom half of the outfit is one big open sack. This way, baby can kick or move their legs around, but their whole body is still covered and protected from the cooler weather.

Footie Pajamas

Footed pajamas are one of the simplest, most straightforward alternatives to socks out there.

Since a pair of socks is essentially built in to footed pajamas, there is a much lower risk of cutting off circulation to baby’s feet and creating sock line bands or permanent scarring. To prevent overheating, look for pajamas made from a breathable material.

Best Alternatives To Socks To Keep Baby's Feet Warm At Night

How To Make Baby Feel Comfortable At Bedtime

Here are a few tried and true tips for making sure your little one is nice and cozy before they drift off to sleep.

Tailor The Room Temperature

Be mindful of the temperature of the room your baby will be sleeping in, especially during the winter and summer months. Many newer parents worry that their baby will be cold since baby’s body temperature doesn’t regulate well, but when it’s warm outside it will actually be easier to overheat!

Chances are, a comfortable temperature for parents will be an okay temperature for your baby. If you feel cold, they certainly will too.

To minimize this worry, here’s a good rule of thumb: dress your baby in as many layers as you would wear to sleep, plus one additional layer. Make sure that the additional layer your baby is wearing is easily removable in case they get hot during sleep time.

Choose Their Wardrobe Wisely

Keeping baby warm is easy when you have a good variety of seasonal options. A wearable blanket may be a great thing to wrap your little one up in while it’s chilly, but heavy socks could cause discomfort or dangerous high internal body temperatures during the summer.

As far as materials go, a cute pair of soft cotton socks are one of the best materials for baby socks out there. Cotton socks are made of natural, breathable material that will wick sweat and moisture away from baby’s delicate skin.

Especially as your newest family member starts to get older, it’s often okay to let your baby sleep wearing whatever they are the most comfortable in. Some babies wear socks like a champ, and others will fuss – and that’s okay! Every baby is different, and will have their own unique preferences.

Another key thing to consider when dressing your baby’s feet is ensuring that their socks or shoes don’t contain any decorative attachments that could come loose and pose a hazard to them. Things like strings, ribbons, bows, buttons, or anything not securely attached might be cute but not very safe.

In Conclusion

I hope this article helped to dispel some of the worries or fears you might have been facing about what your baby should wear to bed! Remember, once you’ve done your research and talked with your pediatrician, the decision is all yours on how to best keep your little dear safe and healthy.

So if you’re not sure if you should put your baby to bed in a pair of socks tonight, look up the forecast for the area you live in and take an inventory of what you’re wearing to stay comfortable. You now have the tools and information to dress baby for a successful sleep, any time of the year.

Give yourself a pat on the back, Mom, Dad – you’ve got this!

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! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *