Keeping Your Baby Warm and Safe during Canadian Winter Nights

by Bailey Bouwman

The seasons are quickly shifting in Northern BC. This morning was quite chilly and I was thinking it's time to pull out some warmer pj’s for myself, and the kids. If you have a baby or toddler at home, you might be thinking it’s time to upgrade their sleep sack to warmer thermal rating - and definitely. 

Earlier in the summer, many families embraced lightweight wearable blankets for the warm evenings. We learned how to stay cool in the summer with lightweight sleep sacks on the blog.  Maintaining the right sleep temperature is crucial for the comfort and well being of a baby and toddler, and sleep sacks can be one easy way to male that happen with safety in mind. Babies are particularly sensitive to temperature changes, and finding the balance between keeping them warm and ensuring their safety is essential.

Understanding the Challenges of Seasonal Changes and Cold Nights

We often get asked “do I need a 2.5 TOG sleep sack?” and truly the answer is “it depends because your home is uniquely yours.”  We sell just as many lightweight sleep sacks during the winter months as we do in the summer months because some families have really warm houses and some do not. 

Unlike adults, babies possess a still-developing ability to regulate their body temperature. This delicate balance can be disrupted by even slight fluctuations in the surrounding environment. This is why many will wait a few months before taking baby to the pool - and why you don’t need a super tiny swim diaper.

As the thermometer drops, babies' vulnerability to the cold becomes more pronounced, making it essential to create a cozy sleep space that shields them from the harsh elements - and essential for ensuring you have the right baby winter gear to keep them warm during the day — just saying. 

Appropriate clothing and sleepwear are pivotal in addressing these challenges - especially where you can’t change the temperature of the room. While bundling in layers is a go-to strategy for outdoor play, it’s not always the best choice for indoor sleep. The gentle comfort provided by these specially designed wearable blankets not only offers warmth but also mitigates the risks associated with loose blankets in the crib.

Hold up, I want a sleep sack with arms in a warmer weight? But I can’t find  it in my size?

This is where we take the opportunity to consider layering for comfort. We were recently asked for long sleeve sleep sacks for babies 0-6 months, and our collection doesn’t offer anything in that functionality at the moment. In this arena you can consider layering your sleep sacks for the warmth you need.

This is where many parents might consider a 0.5 TOG or 1 TOG sleep sack during the winter months, but wear a fleece pajama set, or cozy layers underneath to give the body warmth and comfort.

The Role of Sleep Sacks in Winter Baby Sleep:

Winter isn’t here yet, but when it does come, finding the balance between warmth and safety is crucial for us parents. As adults we grab a few extra blankets, but blankets are not the safest choice for babies and pose a suffocation risk for those under 1 year. Serious. 

A sleep sack is designed to provide an enclosed sleeping environment for babies while allowing them the freedom to move their arms and legs. This promotes a sense of security while reducing the risks associated with loose bedding, a crucial factor in maintaining a safe sleep space. 

Transitioning from swaddling with swaddle blankets to a sleep sack with arms out happens when baby starts to roll. This can happen around 4 months old, or earlier. When baby starts to roll, transitioning out of their swaddle to a sleep sack can provide the same comfort and warmth and help them move towards the end goal of sleeping with a blanket in toddlerhood.

Selecting the Right Sleep Sack Weight

As mentioned earlier, sleep sacks come in many different thermal ratings, or TOG, and the right TOG for you might be different than your friend based on the temperature of your room, and general sleep preferences (sleeping with different layers of clothing). 

TOG, short for thermal overall grade, measures the thermal insulation of a fabric or textile. In essence, it quantifies how effectively a material can retain warmth. This rating system plays a pivotal role in helping parents select sleep sacks that align with the ambient room temperature, ensuring that babies are neither too cold nor too hot.

In our baby and children’s shop we see TOG’s available in three key ratings: 0.5 TOG, 1 TOG, and 2.5 TOG. 

  • 0.5 TOG: Recommended for room temperatures around 24°C (75°F) and above.
  • 1 TOG: Suitable for room temperatures between 20-24°C (68-75°F).
  • 2.5 TOG: Ideal for room temperatures around 16-20°C (61-68°F).

To learn more about thermal ratings, and how to dress your baby according to the room temperature and your sleep bag, check out our post on understanding TOG.

Canadian Brands You Can Trust: Loulou Lollipop and Nest Designs

There are so many different sleep sack brands and we regularly get requests for popular USA brands like Kyte Baby and Gunanuma but this year, we’ve opted to focus on more Canadian brands and bring them to Prince George, BC as a local Canadian option. Shopping Canadian helps Canadians grow their businesses - we know you’re not hearing about these brands by big influencers - but we can promise you they are awesome and many of our best customers keep coming back for more. These are our favourite sleep sacks!

Loulou Lollipop's Signature TENCEL Luxury:

 Crafted with Loulou Lollipop's signature blend of TENCEL™ Lyocell and organic cotton, this bamboo sleep bag defines comfort with a buttery soft fabric you’ll wish you could get as an adult sized blanket. But it's more than just comfort; it's an ode to sustainability. Loulou Lollipop's commitment to eco-friendly practices is evident in every stitch, making this sleep sack a cozy haven for both baby and the environment.

Seeking something lighter? This “better than bamboo” sleepsack is also available in a 1 TOG. Note that the 0.5 TOG is a muslin material and different texture. 

Nest Designs' Plush Comfort:

Nest Designs steps into the scene with an innovative Long Sleeve Sleep Bag that can be adjusted to meet your babies needs because the arms can be removed. That’s right! Available in cotton and bamboo blends, Nest Designs brings a classic plush softness to the sleep sack space. 

You’ll get all the features you love with Nest Designs, and more with their wide range of wearable blankets for babies and kids. We now have a new footed sleep sack in shop for toddlers, and those early walkers who want a wearable blanket to move about.

Practical Tips for Maintaining Ideal Sleep Temperature and Winter Sleep Safety

Creating a warm and safe sleep environment for your baby during the Canadian winter nights is a delicate balancing act that requires attention to both temperature and safety. Here, we offer practical insights to help you navigate the complexities of winter baby sleep.

Regulating Room Temperature:

The first step in crafting a cozy haven for your baby is regulating the room temperature. Aim for a range between 16-20 degrees Celsius (61-68 degrees Fahrenheit). A thermostat, a baby-safe space heater, or even a well-placed humidifier can be allies in maintaining this optimal sleep temperature.

Not sure about your kids room temperature? Consider a baby gadget that records the temperature in the room. This is one reasons we love the Yoto 3rd Generation as a grow with me electronic for baby to big kid offering you insightful data like room temperature, night light, and sleep sounds.

On super cold nights consider hanging blankets over windows or adding plastic to keep in the heat. Check with your heating company for additional suggestions to maintain warmth. It might be valuable to move beds away from outside walls or windows to reduce draft and chill.

Dressing Babies Appropriately

Dressing your baby in layers is a smart strategy. A onesie or a lightweight bodysuit beneath the sleep sack provides the right level of warmth without risking overheating. The 2.5 TOG sleep sack from Loulou Lollipop, with its plush sustainable textile blend, is designed to retain warmth without compromising breathability.

For babies who prefer a warmer arm, a long sleeve sleep sack might be a better choice like the styles from Nest Designs - Now available in a sleep sack style with sleeves in  2.5 TOG.

2.5 TOG Raglan Bamboo Long Sleeve Sleep Bag

Check out dressing charts, like the one on understanding TOG page, for additional guidance on how to layer onesies, sleepers, and other clothing items to get the perfect warmth or coolness dependent on the season.

Reading Signs of Discomfort:

Babies communicate through cues, and recognizing signs of discomfort due to temperature is crucial. Feel your baby's neck or back to gauge their body temperature. If they're sweaty or too cold to the touch, it might be time for an adjustment.

Navigating Winter Nights with Care

When the night hits -30C the anxiety of “will we be warm enough” really kicks in, but you got this. We can keep ourselves and baby warm safely this winter with the right knowledge.

During warmer months, lightweight wearable blankets were the go-to choice. We've previously discussed how to keep babies cool during summer nights with these sleep sacks. But now, with temperatures dropping, it's time to pivot towards the right sleep temperature for your baby's comfort and well-being. This is where sleep sacks come to the rescue, blending warmth with safety.  


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