A sound sleep baby means a sound sleep parent. And getting the right baby sleeping bags is one of the best ways to ensure your child has a good sleeping environment, which will also help them sleep better.
Unlike classic baby swaddles, sleeping bags allow freedom of movement while also keeping your baby warm and feeling more secure when they sleep. On top of that, a good sleep bag keeps your baby from waking up cold when they kick off their cover or blanket.
To help you choose the best sleeping bag for your child, this article will discuss all you need to know about choosing sleeping bags, from safety to types to TOG ratings to guidelines and expert tips. so you can choose the best one for your child.
The Who, What and Why's of Baby Sleeping Bags
What is a baby sleeping bag?
It is essentially a wearable blanket. While it may be similar to cloth with a neck and armholes, its bottom part is more like a pouch that allows your little one’s leg to move freely. It’s usually zipped up either at the front or at the side, and clipped up with a zipper cover.
Why use a baby sleeping bag instead of traditional blankets or sheets?
In addition to being more comfortable for babies, sleeping bags are also safer than traditional blankets because they keep your baby warm without the risk of suffocation and SIDS. The NHS and Sleep Foundation recommend that it’s not safe for babies to sleep with a blanket while they are less than a year old.
If your baby just can’t stop kicking off their covers when they sleep, sleeping bags always stay in place, so your baby stays warm the whole night.
Sleeping bags are also made with different Tog ratings for different seasons, making it easy to keep your baby at the right temperature without feeling too cold or warm.
Some sleep bags are designed with an easy-changing zip at the side so you can change your baby’s diaper without waking her up. It’s a hassle-free and practical choice for most parents.
When should babies start wearing sleep bags?
There’s no specific recommendation regarding the right age for babies to start using a sleeping bag. In fact, the NHS also has no official guideline about this and only stated on their site that “baby sleeping bags are safe for your baby to sleep in”.
We would recommend starting using sleeping bags when your baby is already able to roll over or usually when she’s around three to four months old. Or, if you think that she’s not comfortable being wrapped in a swaddle anymore, it may be time to think about the switch.
Are Baby Sleeping Bags Safe? How To Pick The Right Sleeping Bag?
As mentioned before, the NHS confirms that using sleeping bags for babies is safe. However, the Lullaby Trust said that it’s essential to ensure that you use the correct size so that your baby cannot slip inside, and ensure it’s the right tog rating according to the season or your room temperature.
There are many other things you need to consider when choosing a sleeping bag. To keep things simple, here is a listed guideline for picking the right sleeping bag for your little one:
- Check if the sleeping bag fits your baby and ensure your baby’s head is bigger than the neck hole to keep her from slipping down
- Prefer a sleeping bag with shoulder straps to keep it fit correctly throughout the night.
- Pick the right tog rating according to the season and your home temperature to avoid overheating
- The National Child Mortality Database states that your child’s sleeping bag should not have loose buttons or Extra accessories to avoid a choking hazard. Avoid anything with excess material or hoods.
- To avoid overheating, opt for one made from breathable fabric, so your baby stays warm and comfortable without feeling too hot. For this, organic bamboo and cotton fabrics are excellent choices, or you can also opt for Merino wool for a better temperature-regulating characteristic.
- While it’s not mandatory, you can also check if the sleeping bag’s brand follows the latest British safety standard of BS 8510:2009 or BS EN 16781:2018.
Type of sleeping bags
While many are designed to allow your baby to sleep in a natural position, sleeping bags also come in different styles and varieties.
Swaddle sleeping bags
Designed to provide the snugness and comfort of a swaddle blanket, swaddle sleeping bags usually have a zip-up feature for easy nappy changes. They come with adjustable wings that wrap around the baby’s arms, providing a cosy and secure feeling. These sleeping bags are ideal for newborns and younger infants who are used to being swaddled.
This is the most popular form of baby sleeping bag. Designed to be worn like a cloth with a neck hole and arm openings, these sleep bags usually have a more roomy cut at the bottom to allow your baby to sleep in a natural ‘frog-legged’ sleeping position, which is great for hip development.
Most baby sleeping bags are sleeveless to avoid overheating your baby, but some come with removable sleeves for more flexibility. This allows you to freely adjust the sleeping bag to suit different temperatures and your child’s comfort level.
You can keep the arms when the weather is cold or remove the arms to avoid overheating when the weather feels warmer.
Sleeping bag with legs
These sleep bags are designed for freedom of movement for your little one and are a perfect choice for babies who have just learned to crawl and walk. This allows a hassle-free transition from playtime to sleep time without changing her up, especially when your little one is already sleepy.
All-season sleeping bag
You can wear an all-season sleeping bag in any weather without requiring any tog rating. These sleep bags are made from Merino Wool fabrics, which are known for their excellent insulation properties and naturally temperature-regulating characteristics – it’s warm when it’s cold and cold when it’s warm!
These Merino wool sleep bags are pricier than others, but it’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for quality.
What is tog rating and how to choose?
Stands for Thermal Overall Grade, it measures the thermal insulation of material, and it is used to determine how warm or cool a sleeping bag will keep your baby. When choosing, keep in mind that the higher the tog, the warmer or thicker the sleeping bag will be. The Tog rating range for a sleep sack is usually between 0.5tog to 3.5tog – a 0.2 may exist for extremely hot weather.
Here’s a tog rating guideline specifically for baby sleeping bags:
- 0.5 tog: This is the lowest rating available and is suitable for use in very hot weather (above 27°C).
- 1 tog: This tog rating is suitable for warmer weather (24-27°C).
- 2.5 tog: This tog rating suits standard room temperatures (between 16-20°C). It’s the most popular tog rating for baby sleeping bags.
- 3.5 tog: This tog rating is suitable for colder room temperatures (between 14-16°C).
Other things to keep in mind
Always prioritize your baby’s safety over design when choosing your baby’s sleeping bag. Some products may look stylish and cool on your baby, but loose accessories or excess hoods can be a potential choking hazard to your little one.
Should your baby wear a cloth under a sleeping bag?
Yes, it’s fine to wear something like a cloth or pyjamas under your baby’s sleeping bag, however, that would depend on the season and room temperature. Your child may be fine sleeping in a diaper or a lightweight onesie underneath a 2.5-tog sleeping bag.
One important thing to keep in mind is you should not use additional blankets or divers to avoid overheating.
Putting too much sheet or clothing on your baby can lead to overheating, especially if the room temperature is also hot. According to the NHS, an overheated baby can lead to the risk of SIDS and other conditions such as heat rash, heat stroke and dehydration.