When dressing and swaddling your newborn to keep her from getting cold, it's easy to get carried away. This can cause overheating, which is a serious threat to her health. The American Academy of Pediatrics has linked overheating to an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. The signs of overheating in a newborn are easy to detect.
Touch your baby's head and collar area to check for dampness. A damp neck or head indicates that your child is sweaty.
Look at your baby's face. If it is redder than usual or has a rash, your baby may be overheating.
Listen to your child's breathing, or watch the rise and fall of her chest. Rapid breathing is a symptom of overheating. Feel your baby's chest to see if it feels hot, which is another sign that she is too warm.
Note whether your newborn is unusually difficult to put to sleep and whether she does not stay asleep as long as normal. Restlessness is a possible sign of overheating. Be aware, however, that it is also a sign of several other problems, including being too cold. Do not base your conclusion only on restlessness. Look for the other signs.
- Pediatrics: SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment
- Georgia Department of Human Services: DHR Urges Parents to Avoid Overheating Children in Cold Weather
- The Baby Book; William Sears, M.D. et. al.
- HealthyChildren.org: Reduce the Risk of SIDS