For new parents, it can be challenging to determine when it’s time to stop using a sleep sack. On one hand, you want to keep your baby warm and comfortable while they sleep, but on the other hand, you don’t want to keep them in a sleep sack for too long, as it can be unsafe. In this article, we will discuss when to stop and why.
What is a baby sleep sack?
A sleep sack is a wearable blanket that helps infants and toddlers stay warm while they sleep. They come in different sizes, fabrics, and thicknesses to accommodate different ages, seasons, and preferences. Some sleep sacks have sleeves, while others have openings to have their arms free, depending on the design and the manufacturer. Most come with zippers for easy diaper changes.
A baby’s sleep sack is generally considered safer than a loose blanket or loose bedding because they can’t be kicked off or cover the face, which reduces suffocation risk, SIDS, or overheating. They also give babies a sense of security and comfort, which babies love, as they mimic the feeling of being swaddled but allow more mobility and airflow.
When to stop using a sleep sack?
While sleep sacks are useful for infants and toddlers, there comes a point where they may no longer be necessary or appropriate. Some signs that it is time to stop using a sleep sack include:
Your little one has outgrown the sleep sack
Sleep sacks come in different sizes, ranging from newborn to toddler. As your little one grows taller and heavier, they may become too big for their current sleep sack. If your baby’s legs don’t fit comfortably, you may need to switch to a larger size toddler sleep sack or transition to a different sleeping arrangement with the right fit for your baby’s size.
Your child can stand up or climb out of the crib
Once your child can pull themselves up or climb out of the crib, they may get tangled or stuck in the sleep sack, which can be hazardous. To avoid falls or injuries, it’s best to switch to a sleeping bag, wearable blankets, or regular loose blankets, depending on your baby’s age and mobility.
Your child shows signs of readiness for a big bed
If your baby is transitioning from your child’s crib to a big bed, they may not need a sleep sack anymore. Sleeping bags or regular blankets can be used instead, as long as they are appropriate for the season and the child’s age.
The weather is warm
Sleep sacks are designed to keep babies warm and cozy, but they can also cause overheating if the room temperature is too high or the sleep sack is too thick. In warm weather, it’s best to dress your little ones in light clothes and use a light blanket or a sleep sack with a lower TOG rating (thermal overall grade).
Your baby expresses discomfort or dislike
Some children may not like the feeling of being confined in a sleep sack or may prefer to sleep without one. If your baby shows signs of discomfort, resistance, or dislike, it may be time to try a different sleeping arrangement or let them sleep without a sleep sack.
Why stop using a sleep sack?
While sleep sacks are generally safe and effective, there are some reasons why you may need to stop using them:
Risk of overheating
Sleep sacks can be too warm for some babies, especially if the room temperature is high or the sleep sack is too thick. Overheating can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or cause discomfort and restlessness.
Risk of entanglement
Sleep sacks with loose or long straps, zippers, or snaps can pose a risk of entanglement, strangulation, or choking, especially if the baby is mobile or unattended.
Sleep sacks can limit a baby’s movements, which can be uncomfortable or frustrating for some babies, especially as they grow and develop.
Sleep sacks may not provide enough warmth for some babies, especially if they move around a lot or if the room temperature drops too low. To keep your baby warm, it may be better to use a thicker sleep sack or a warmer blanket to keep the baby comfortable and cozy.
Transition to a big bed
As mentioned earlier, sleep sacks may not be suitable for toddlers who have transitioned to a big bed. At this stage, many parents as well as the little one may prefer to use a regular blanket or a sleeping bag, depending on their age and preferences. We love montessori floor beds as a great alternative to regular toddler beds.