The 13th to 19th of March is Safer Sleep Week to raise awareness and reduce SIDS.
The Lullaby Trust’s website is full of tips and guides to reduce SIDS if you would like to read more about the subject.
(This is not a sponsored post.)
Being Safer Sleep Week and all, I though I’d grab the opportunity to chat about baby sleep bags and what makes them so much safer compared to baby blankets.
Before I was pregnant I had no idea that baby sleep bags even existed. It wasn’t until I started reading about safe sleeping practices for babies that I came across them and honestly, I’m so glad that I did. My little boy is incapable of sitting still. He has ants in his pants ALL day and it’s no different when he sleeps, so blankets are completely useless to us.
It wasn’t that much of an issue while he was sleeping in his bassinette because he couldn’t really move around much in it but he’s so tall that he’s out grown his bassinette already (at three months old) so he sleeps in his cot now. I place him on his back and ‘feet to foot’ but I often find him with his head where his feet used to be. I’d hate to think what would happen if we let him sleep with a blanket. Not only would he probably throw it over his face but I’m sure he’d get very tangled up in it too. For us, sleeping bags are a definite must at the moment.
Since I had no idea what a baby sleep bag was, here are some questions (along with the answers) that I found myself asking before I decided to buy them for Seth.
What exactly is a baby sleep bag?
Think of it as a wearable blanket. It has a neck and arm holes allowing your baby to wear the sleeping bag like an item of clothing. It replaces all the bedding you would normally use except for the sheet that covers the mattress.
What makes a baby sleep bag so safe?
As long as you are using the correct size sleeping bag, your baby won’t be able to wriggle it over their head or kick it off like they can with a blanket so there’s no risk of them getting tangled up in it, suffocating or getting cold. They allow your baby to stay safe and snug all night long.
In the UK, baby sleep bags need to meet the BS8510:2009 standard. This covers things such as flammability, thermal hazards and mechanical hazards (entrapment, entanglement, suffocation, etc) so make sure you check the label when deciding which brand of sleep bag you are going to purchase.
Why is it called a “baby sleep bag” instead of a “sleeping bag”?
Although the terms can be used interchangeably, the proper name is a sleep bag to eliminate confusion with camping sleeping bags.
What tog rating should the baby sleep bag be?
The sleeping bags come in tog ratings from 0.5 to 3.5.
A 2.5 tog sleeping bag is recommended for the UK climate or a nursery that is kept between 16°C and 20°C.
You should not use a lower tog rated sleeping bag and then place a blanket over the top to make your baby warmer. This defeats the purpose of using a sleeping bag in the first place.
What should my baby wear underneath the sleeping bag?
The amount of clothes that your baby needs to wear under the sleeping bag depends on the tog rating and the room temperature.
The Gro Company have a handy picture guide that you can follow if you use their Growbags.
At what age can you use a baby sleep bag?
This depends on the brand you buy so check the label. In general, though, it’s recommended to wait until your baby weighs 4kgs. In the first few weeks of a baby’s life they generally like to be wrapped up tightly in a swaddle anyway. My son realised he actually hates being swaddled and MUST have his arms free when he was three weeks old and by then he was big enough to start using a sleeping bag.
At what age should you stop using a sleeping bag?
Once your child is about a year and a half old you can think about getting them ‘proper bedding’ when you move them from their cot to a bed, or just continue to use a sleeping bag that’s the right size for your child.
Most brands make sleeping bags for children up to the age of two but some, like The Gro Company even make Grobags for ten year olds.
How many baby sleep bags do I need?
I’d recommend having four or more. Two lower tog bags for summer and two 2.5 tog bags for the rest of the year. Having more than one is almost a necessity so that you always have a spare in the event of a leaky nappy or any other yukky messes that babies LOVE to make.
Does the baby sleep bag make it difficult to change a nappy?
Not at all. The sleeping bags have a zip either down the front or along the side. You can unzip the bag and slide it out the way, without having to remove it completely.
Is there any specific brand that I recommend?
Not really. We’ve got sleeping bags from TU Clothing (Sainsbury’s), H&M and Grobags (The Gro Company) and they all work and wash well. I haven’t been able to find out if the ones from TU and H&M meet the BS8510:2009 standard but I know that Grobags do so if you are worried about that, then I’d say definitely get a Grobag. They also last longer because the material they are made from doesn’t shrink or fade in the wash.
Seth is wearing a 2.5 tog Growbag (0 – 6 months) in the images above. Shop it from Very.
I hope this post has answered any questions you may have had about whether or not to use a baby sleep bag. For us, blankets are not only unsafe, but just not practical. My son can’t even be trusted with them while I’m in the same room because his favourite thing to do is pull it over his face or stick a corner in his mouth.