A sleep bag (sleep sack) is a wearable blanket. These are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for safe sleep as it keeps their sleep space bare and reduces the risk of suffocation or strangulation from loose objects in their crib.
Knowing how to choose the right sleep bag can provide an extra layer of protection and comfort for parents!
Here are our top 5 tips for ensuring you choose the right sleep bag for your child and their needs:
Tip #1: Are you choosing between a swaddle/sleep sack combo or just a regular sleep sack?
All ages of babies can wear a sleep sack so long as it fits them properly. (You can check out details on proper fit in this blog), however, not every age can still use a swaddle. Swaddling refers to having their arms in and restricted whereas a sleep sack allows them full movement of their extremities.
The AAP recommends transitioning out of a swaddle whenever they’re showing signs of rolling (not physically being able to roll but signs that it’s coming– you can find more about that in this blog).
So if you have a newborn, you could definitely choose to use a swaddle/sleep bag combo and transition them to just a sleep bag whenever they’re showing signs of rolling or you can use a properly fitting sleep bag from day one!
Tip #2: Choose the right TOG for your child’s room temperature.
From this blog, “TOG is the measure of thermal resistance. It stands for Thermal Overall Grade and is the standard of measure for how much heat a garment retains.
In other words, this is how warm a garment keeps you; you’ll see this often on duvets, baby sleepwear, socks, and even carpet!
The higher the TOG, the warmer it will keep you or the more heat it will retain.
Because babies do not generate heat easily but absorb it very well, you have to be mindful of how much heat their clothing is going to retain.”
Kyte BABY offers 3 different TOG ratings in their sleep bags: 0.5, 1.0, and 2.5. The lowest TOG is appropriate for room temperatures of 74-78 deg F, the 1.0 TOG is a universal TOG usually and rated for room temperatures of 69-73 deg F, and the highest TOG is what most people use in the winter when rooms are coldest (temperatures of 61-68 deg F).
Never go by what the thermostat is set at as each room can warm and cool differently. Always check for signs of overheating as that is a risk factor for SIDS. Being cooler is preferable to being warmer!
Tip #3: Choose the right size of sleep sack
It’s absolutely okay to choose a sleep bag that is longer than your baby needs so long as it fits well through their chest, arms, and neck. We don’t want it so large that it can be pulled up to cover their face or that they can pull their arms out through the arm holes easily.
But there’s no issue with the sleep bag being longer, and in fact can be preferable to ensure they have lots of mobility and freedom for their hips!
Kyte BABY offers 3 sizes of sleep sacks: small, medium, and large. Most parents find they get a lot of wear time out of each individual size. This is preferable so you’re not constantly buying the next size up as your baby grows! Extra length allows for extra wear time.
Tip #4: Choosing between a sleep bag or sleep bag walker
A sleep bag will have their feet enclosed while they sleep whereas a sleep bag walker has feet holes at the bottom that allow them to have their feet out (they can also walk more freely in the sleep bag walker).
Sleep bag walkers are a great option for any child that may hate something covering their feet. Keep in mind that kicking is a self soothing mechanism (when it’s rhythmic in nature) so that may be what they’re doing, not just “complaining” about their feet being covered.
You’ll want to transition to a sleep bag walker when you transition to a toddler bed if they’re not keeping blankets on very well and you’re concerned about them getting too cold. It’s helpful when potty training as well since it features a dual zipper.
Tip #5: Choose a sleep bag with features that are important to you
Features to consider when choosing a sleep bag:
- The type of material (maybe you have a child with eczema who needs a soft breathable fabric)
- Location of the zipper (if it’s in the front, it can be easier for a child to remove themselves)
- Ability to zip from the bottom and the top (to ease night time diaper changes)
- Sizes available (limited sizing means finding a new brand or sizing up very quickly which can add up to more $$$)
These 5 tips will help you purchase the right sleep bag for your child that allows you to sleep peacefully all night too!
Author Bio: Ashley Olson is a certified pediatric sleep consultant, owner of Heaven Sent Sleep and The Collective for Family Rest and Wellness, and passionate about helping new parents, experienced parents, desperate and sleep-deprived parents form healthy sleep habits for their children.
She has over 4 years of experience in working with families and has completed over 150 hours of coursework plus continuing education related to infant and toddler sleep. The focus of her work is on fostering a routine that grows your bond with your child while improving their sleep habits. She specializes in custom sleep plans and one on one support in changing sleep practices!