Bath & Bed / 25 October, 2023 / Ellie Thompson
When babies start to become more mobile, it’s an important time to ensure your choice of sleepwear is as safe as possible. Both head covering and overheating your baby are associated with an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), so choosing a well-fitting baby sleeping bag with temperature-regulating fabrics is considered to be one of the safest bedding options for wriggly babies.
Around a quarter of SIDS babies are found with their heads covered and brain overheating is thought to be a key risk factor. Reducing the risk of overheating is key to minimising these risks.
Pure Earth Collection make pioneering thermoregulating baby sleeping bags that take the guesswork out of tog ratings while helping babies to maintain a comfortable temperature all night. The company follows the advice and recommendations of The Lullaby Trust and the baby sleeping bag regulations, BS EN 16781, both of which are carefully incorporated into the product design of all of their sleepwear.
They also go the extra mile to make sure their sleeping bags and fabrics pass other relevant certifications, regulations and safety standards. As mentioned above, one of the most important factors to consider to ensure safe sleep for your baby is temperature, particularly to reduce the risk of overheating. This advice is consistent across the major advice groups. It’s therefore necessary to consider the fabrics in sleeping bags, as some fabrics may actually be working against your babies’ natural ability to regulate their temperature. There are also other safety factors to think about when choosing a sleeping bag, which we’ve summarised for you below:
Choosing organic baby sleeping bags made from 100% natural fabrics is the safest option for reducing the risk of overheating. Natural fabrics are much more breathable and allow for greater temperature control than their synthetic counterparts.
Unfortunately, the most popular filling for baby sleeping bags is a polyester wadding. Polyester impairs the body’s natural ability to regulate temperature and can very quickly cause overheating. All sleeping bags sold with polyester inside will come with a warning about the temperature limits for that specific tog rating. These will typically include just a 3-4°C window. This means a lot of guesswork is involved before putting your baby to bed: you’ll need to estimate what the likely temperature of the room will be that night, which tog sleeping bag to choose and how many under layers to dress your baby in too.
Thankfully there are now a few natural alternatives on the market to these polyester-fill sleeping bags. These sleeping bags are designed with wool or bamboo inside a cotton lining fabric.
Wool-fill sleeping bags are a much safer option for temperature regulation than polyester, but they may not be so practical for washing, nappy leaks or if your baby has sensitive skin or eczema. While a huge step up in terms of safety and babies’ comfort from the synthetic alternatives, you’ll still need to buy one for summer and one for winter, as the temperature ranges on these bags cannot usually cover all the seasons.
Bamboo fabric is one of the leading fabrics for thermoregulation. It is proven to work with our bodies to maintain a more constant temperature than almost all other fabrics. For this reason, bamboo wadding sleeping bags offer year-round comfort and reduced risk of overheating. The natural micro holes in the bamboo fibres draw up to 3x more water away from the body, creating a cooling ventilation system on hot nights and warm air pockets on colder evenings.
This is another major safety factor and one which is heavily regulated by the British safety standards BS EN 16781. The neck size of your sleeping bag is crucial to ensure a baby’s head cannot slip down inside the bag. This would cause a huge risk of overheating. There are some important factors to consider in this regard when choosing your bag.
Firstly, it is not compulsory for sleeping bags sold in the UK to be compliant with these, or any, regulations, so to ensure maximum safety, check the bags you are buying comply with either BS EN 16781 (if you’re buying in the UK or Europe) or similar country-specific regulation if elsewhere.
Secondly, not all bags that claim they comply with these standards actually do, and this is particularly true for neck sizes.
It’s really important for parents to ensure that their baby’s head is not able to pass through the neck fitting when the bag is properly done up. If your baby’s head is smaller than average, you may need to wait a few more weeks before putting your baby to sleep in a bag labelled to fit their size/age. If there is any risk of the baby being able to slip inside the sleeping bag, do not use it until your baby is bigger. Sleeping bags with underarm poppers can be helpful as these poppers will usually stop the baby being able to slip inside the sleeping bag.
The tog rating is particularly important if you buy a polyester-fill bag. Always check the instructions that come with your sleeping bag to ensure the right bag is being used for all the possible temperature changes in your baby’s room. We strongly recommend opting for a 100% natural fabric baby sleeping bag as it offers a wider temperature range, reducing the margin for error when selecting your baby’s bedding every night.
This is another major part of the safety regulations. All bags that comply with BS EN 16781 will have passed a flammability test. However, this does not mean that the bags are not flammable, and it’s important to keep babies in sleeping bags away from naked flames at all times. Polyester, which is inside the majority of sleeping bags, is very flammable and, when alight, will melt, which can cause serious harm.
It’s really important when it comes to baby sleeping bags to read the instructions. All sleeping bags must legally be sold with instructions for use, and it’s crucial you read these as they will be specific to the sleeping bag you have bought.
Take time to choose your baby’s bedding to ensure what you are buying is right for you and your lifestyle. Don’t be tricked by clever marketing – be careful to read labels as companies often make headline claims that bags are 100% natural fabrics, when actually, in the small print, you will see that they have polyester inside.
Regardless of what baby bedding you end up choosing, check on your babies regularly to make sure they are at a comfortable temperature while they sleep. If a baby’s chest or upper back is clammy or hot to touch, then this is a sign they are too warm. If they seem hot, remove layers or cool the bedroom by opening a window.
Due to its pioneering design and unique, temperature-regulating fabrics, the All-Season Bamboo Baby Sleeping Bag from Pure Earth Collection was voted ‘Best Sleep Innovation’ 2023 and is recommended by leading sleep specialists. The innovative, 100% natural fabrics help babies maintain a consistent and safe temperature across all four seasons, meaning safer, better quality sleep with less night wakings. Comply with BS EN 16781 and the fabrics are GOTs approved.