Babies should be comfortable as the temperature dips, but parents should take care not to overdo it, experts say. Some advice:
• A temperature that is comfortable for adults is plenty comfortable for babies.
• Dress baby one layer warmer than what you're wearing. Check the back of baby's neck, not hands and feet, to assess body temperature.
• Additional blankets at sleep time can be a suffocation hazard.
• Don't use space heaters in baby's room.
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• Bulky clothes can interfere with car-seat straps.
• Blankets draped over car seats can overheat and asphyxiate a baby.
• Additions to car seats, such as sheepskin covers, should be assessed by a professional to make sure they don't interfere with the seat's function.
• Not all babies need to be swaddled, but swaddling can be helpful for colicky babies.
• Stop swaddling at 3 months, or when baby can roll.
• Keep baby's head free at all times. Be sure any loose blanket is folded to the inside.
• A blanket is too tight when you can't slide your hand between the blanket and baby's chest.
• Be sure to check for overheating. Cool fingers and toes do not mean a baby is cold. Use the back of baby's neck instead. If the neck is hot or sweaty, unwrap baby.
Sources: Columbus Public Health, Yvonne Gustafson
To ask a question about baby safety, call the Elizabeth Blackwell Parent Help Line at (614) 566-4446.