If you are a parent to a toddler you will be aware of how energetic they are, all of the time. This energy doesn’t disappear once they are asleep, you can put your toddler to sleep in their cot bed in one position and by the morning they would have moved around so much they will be at the other end.
With toddlers moving around so much, it is natural to worry that they are not warm enough and it is often hard to determine what bedding is appropriate for your active toddler.
In their early years, you may have practiced swaddling your baby. This is the act of wrapping them tightly in breathable cotton material.
Swaddling not only keeps babies warm but it makes them feel secure, the close confines of a swaddle mimic being inside their mummy’s tummy. But once babies can roll, typically at 6 months old, a swaddle is not advised and becomes dangerous.
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So what’s the next stage?
It is then advised that you transition your baby to a baby sleeping bag. When we talk about a sleeping bag for your toddler, this shouldn’t be confused with the typical sleeping bag you would take camping.
These are unsafe for toddlers. Once zipped up a toddler will be able to wriggle down to the bottom and there is a very real possibility they could suffocate.
Toddler Sleeping bags often called ‘grow bags’ can be bought from as early as 4 months and worn right up to as old as 6 years.
Why are toddlers so energetic in their sleep?
In total, toddlers need between 12 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. If something interrupts this, it can result in your toddler having a disturbed night sleep or not settling in the first place.
Some causes for these interruptions are,
- They miss nap time – If your toddler doesn’t get their usual daytime nap this doesn’t automatically mean they will sleep well during the night. In fact, it can often have an adverse effect. Toddlers can become overtired and irritable and have a night of interrupted sleep.
- Teething or illness – Unfortunately for you the toddler stage is rife with illnesses picked up in nursery settings and the emergence of lots of new teeth. Both will cause discomfort for your toddler which can make it difficult to get them to sleep or will cause them to wake up.
- Milestones – Toddlers reach significant cognitive milestones during this stage of life. As their brain is perfecting their new skills they will often wake in the middle of the night to practice these new developments. If your toddler is doing this, be rest assured that this will usually only go on for a couple of nights.
- Separation Anxiety – Typically toddlers start to develop separation anxiety around 18 months old. But it can develop at any time. A common cause for this anxiety can be if your toddler feels they haven’t had enough time with their parents during the day. The easy solution for this is to spend lots of time having cuddles with your toddler and make a point to praise them when they do sleep in their crib all night.
How do I choose the right sleeping bag?
As your baby grows into a toddler it is important that you choose a sleeping bag that’s right for your child’s needs.
The tog of a sleeping sack is how thick it is, and just like your own duvet, you may need to adjust the count depending on the season. This is especially important in sleeping bags where your toddler will not be able to remove it should they get too hot or put another layer on should they get too cold.
So as a general rule of thumb to follow is,
1.0 Tog should be used for the summer months where your toddlers’ room will be between 20 – 24°c
2.5 Tog is a reasonable thickness for all year round with room temperatures measuring between 14 – 20°c
3.5 Tog should be used for the winter months where your toddlers’ room will be below 14°c
There are hundreds of sleeping bags on the market so we have chosen some of our favourites to help narrow down the search for you.
During the summer months, you will want to choose a lighter sleeping bag for your toddler and preferably one without arms. We recommend the ‘Lictin Baby Sleeping Bag, 1.0 tog’.
This has some impressive features such as an adjustable height so it can last your baby from 18 to 36 months. Lictin advises that you measure your baby’s height and neckline before you purchase a sleeping bag to ensure that they cannot fall through to the bottom and risk suffocation.
Hudson sells one of Amazon’s top-rated long sleeve sleeping bags. This bag is 3.5 tog, in line with the recommended thickness for a winter sleeping bag.
It can be bought in various sizes ranging from 3 months up to 30 months. It has a central zip that runs from top to bottom so it’s easy to get into for nappy changes and the bottom is wide enough that your toddler can kick their legs around.
The ‘Chilsuessy Baby Sleeping Bag 3.5’ is a favorite for the colder months. It is made with 100% cotton which is soft on the skin and also retains the sleeping bag’s shape no matter how much it’s worn.
The arms on this one detach, which adds a nice adjustable option depending on your toddler’s room temperature. Chilsuessy sells this in an XL which can fit children aged 4 to 6 years old depending on height.
If you’re in a country experiencing a heatwave and temperatures in your toddlers’ bedroom exceed 21oc then you will need to buy a 0.5 tog sleeping bag. These are very light and often made from breathable cotton to minimise the risk of your toddler overheating.
A popular choice is the ‘molis&co 0.5 Tog Summer Sleeping Bag.’
Toddler sleeping bags don’t always have a pouch at the bottom. Some look like padded sleepsuits that have split legs and open feet.
These are often preferred for particularly energetic toddlers who don’t like to feel constricted. They also have the added benefit that if your house is cold in the winter your toddler can easily walk around wearing one so it keeps them warm for longer after they wake up and before bed.
The ‘Lictin Baby Split Leg Sleep Sack’ is a popular choice in this category of sleeping bags.
What should my toddler wear under a sleeping bag?
Once you have understood which tog sleeping bag should be worn in line with your toddlers’ room temperature, it’s important to understand how to dress them underneath that sleeping bag. The advice on safe sleepwear depends heavily on your toddler’s room temperature.
- 24 – 27°c: A nappy or sleeveless vest + a 0.5 tog sleeping bag.
- 22 – 24°c: A sleeveless vest + a 1.0 tog sleeping bag.
- 20 – 22°c: A short or long-sleeved vest + a 1.0 tog sleeping bag.
- 18 – 20°c: A long-sleeved vest + a 2.5 tog sleeping bag.
- 16 – 18°c: A sleepsuit or pyjamas + a 2.5 tog sleeping bag.
- 14 – 16°c: A long-sleeved vest, sleepsuit, or pyjamas + a 3.5 tog sleeping bag.
This should be taken as a rough guide, every toddler is different so you should regularly check on your toddler throughout the night to make sure they are at a comfortable temperature.
When will my toddler transition out of a sleeping bag?
Whilst you can buy sleeping bags that will fit a child up to the age of 6 years old, health providers will advise that you can transition your toddler out of a sleeping bag over the age of 18 months old.
You will be able to introduce sleep-safe pillows and duvets. It is not recommended that you introduce a pillow or duvet under 12 months old.
When buying a toddler duvet make sure it is the right size for your toddler’s cot bed, do not buy one that is too big or too heavy. Aim for a 4 tog duvet for your toddler’s first duvet.
A sleeping bag is a great way to keep your energetic toddler comfortable during the night. Whilst it can seem a confusing market, the links in this article direct you to some of the most popular sleeping bags in their category.
The safe sleepwear breakdown in this article will help you understand what clothes you should dress your toddler in underneath the sleeping bag depending on their room temperature.
But please bear in mind that these are only general recommendations, you know your child better than anyone else and will be able to decide which sleeping option is the most comfortable for them.