29 answers

How to Keep Toddler Warm at Night

How can you tell if your toddler is warm enough at night? Here's our situation: we keep the thermostat low at night because we're not made of money and don't believe in wasting natural resources. I dress my son in a onsie, fleece footie PJs and a pair of larger sweat pants over that. He will NOT keep a blanket over him, and when he gets tangled in even a tiny receiving blanket he goes nuts. What is tricky now that we're coming on spring, it's warmer in our 75-year-old home when he goes to bed (around 8:30), and then around 11 pm it drops about 5 degrees cooler. How can I tell if he's comfortable? He does these random cry outs all the time, that could be teeth, dreams, reflux (he's on meds, but sometimes you can get break-throughs), take your pick of reasons. He is also an incredibly active mover in his sleep, and he burrows into pillows like a little drill. Any thoughts? Would just like to know how other moms do it.

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Thanks gang for the suggestions! I failed to mention to you all that we sleep in the same room as my son, and I wear flannel pajama bottoms, top, and a sweatshirt, and I would FREEZE in that alone. (My husband and I have a down comforter over us.) I also thought the whole “dress them one layer more than you” rule ended when they became toddlers and their bodies begin to regulate temperature better…so I called my pediatrician’s office and asked. Glad to hear I’m not the only one in a drafty old house with the bedroom on coldest side! We imagine the temp in our room gets down to 64 at night.

I’m not keen on space heaters (seem dangerous) or on turning up the heat (it does not sit well on my environmental conscience). And of course blankets of any thickness are not tolerated by this kid. But the sleep bags you all suggested look awesome—especially the one with feet and a “backwards” zipper for diaper changes! I ordered a Halo wearable blanket from Target last night. Turns out they go all the way up to 4or 5T—who knew? Oh, you guys did! Thanks much.

Featured Answers

Someone once told me to feel the back of their neck. If it feel chilly, then they are cold. Good luck!

A pediatrician told me to keep the baby one layer warmer than I'd keep myself (for dressing, actually). So, if I was comfortable in short sleeves, put long sleeves on the baby; if I needed long sleeves, but two layers on the baby. If you're warm enough, he probably is too.

we use sleep sacks - they have fleece ones for bigger kids as well as heavy cotton, my son used one until he was 2.5 years old. We also keep the temp down for various reasons. Hope that helps.

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I think he may be hot in a onesie, pjs, and sweats! Kids are supposed to wear one more layer than you do, and be cooler at night. Try just the pjs one night, see if that helps. Kids are always warmer than we are it seems, my three year old never wants to wear clothes and never complains about being cold, she actually tried to run out in the snow in her underwear last night! My three year old constantly kicks blankets off too and it never seems to bother her sleep, even if she's just in underwear. All the books say to keep your house at 68 during the day, 65 at night, which doesn't seem to use too much heat in our house, especially upstairs, and with proper insulation.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi there,

Go for the sleep sacks. They are roomy, comfortable and keep the child warm. I've seen them at the more upscale stores (Georgia Blu in west seattle for $30, which is actually pretty reasonable because they are very nice and soft inside) but for something cheaper, I'm not sure where to find them because ours have always come from relatives in Germany. They are great though, no kicking off, you can keep the temperature a bit lower in the room, and the novelty of them is something our child loved so we never had to fight it. My son wore his until he was almost 5.

1 mom found this helpful

my three year old will sometimes let us put his pair of fav pjs on but only on really cold nights most the time he either sleeps with just a tshirt or just even a diaper. but he doeskeep a light blanket on himself at night. but even my fifteen month old who sleeps on the floor in our room right now he will only wear a one-z we too don tlike to sleep with the heat on. we also have a condo so it may keep heat better then a house i dont know. but i find that if my boys are too hot they tend to wake up and climb in bed with us i sleep with a fan on and i think if they are warm it cools them. I would try maybe just the footie pjs one night and see how he does. kids dont like being too hot if there is one thing i know about parenting that is it. If the heat is on in our house and they get to warm it is hell to pay for me they start throwing fits!! Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

Have you tried Halo brand Sleep Sacks? They fit over your child's PJs but give them room to move their feet around a bit so they don't feel too constricted. We used them with our daughter until she was at least 2. She'd never keep a blanket on either. I think they even make larger sizes for preschoolers now. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I A. a Mom in Alaska...I know all about how cold it can be at night. We also turn our heat down at night otherwise our gas bill would be insane... Our 2 year old sleeps in a t-shirt and a fleece footed sleeper with a Halo fleece sleep sack. I bought them online at Target. I dont know if they have them in stores or not, that is one of many stores we do not have up here. That seems to keep her pretty warm. I also saw that Halo makes a lighter summer version of the sleep sack, that may work better for you since I dont know where you live. Even in the summer time we use the fleece sleep sack with a lighter jammie. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like you are doing a fine job!

my experience is that boys are warmer than girls, & it's probably not as much of an issue to him. Does the house drop below 60 or 55? Your layers on him would seem to be enough. I would guess that if he were down to skin, he would not get tangled in the covers, & could turn under them easier. something you might try on the hot summer nights that we are bound to get somewhere in,,,, oh november next year. (poking a joke at the ice storm I drove through yesterday, April 19th.)

Seriously, my son was never fond of sheets, & just uses a comforter. He always wadded the sheet up at the foot of his bed. I quit putting them on his bed, just the blanket, tucked in at the end & the back.

I wouldn't stress it, he's probably hot if he's kicking the covers off.


Someone once told me to feel the back of their neck. If it feel chilly, then they are cold. Good luck!

we use sleep sacks - they have fleece ones for bigger kids as well as heavy cotton, my son used one until he was 2.5 years old. We also keep the temp down for various reasons. Hope that helps.

we keep the temp. in our house at 65 in the evening (it is around 68 when my 2 year old goes to sleep, then goes down to 65)...He sleeps in just a pair of fleece foot pj's - he starts with a stack of receiving blankets on, but they are always pushed to the side of his bed by morning time...he has never complained about being cold. I think that you are probably just fine with what you are doing.!

My little guy is over 2 now. We keep our house at 60. He's a hot guy normally so I don't worry too much. He wears footed pj's too. I think it is better to be a little on the cool side than too hot. He could be not sleeping well cause he's too hot.

Another option is sheets and a nice big comforter over top. Justin has sheets, a comforter and fleece blanket.

My 7 month old is also in his own bed, in his own room. He sometimes wakes up with cold hands, but it doesn't seem to hurt him so I don't stress over it.

Happy sleeping!

What about trying a sleep sack? Grobag (the most popular brand in England) makes bigger sizes and different weights of sleep sack. The larger sizes have a zipper lock so toddlers can't take them off. After my daughter graduated from being swaddled for the first three months she has always slept in one. She now 11 months. She uses a 2.5 tog (warmth rating) in the colder months and a 1 tog in the summer. She is all over her crib during the night and naps but the sleep sack stays on and keeps her warm no matter what strange position she wants to sleep in. Sleep sacks are very popular in Europe but for some reason just catching on here. I think Halo is the only brand you'll find at stores around here and I don't know how big they go. You'll have to look online if you want one of the nicer European brands. I've seen Grobags on Ebay too.

we have a fifteen and a half month old daughter and we have this struggle too!!! :) we have our heat OFF all night long, but we are lucky in that each room has an individual thermostat. we usually put her room at 60 degrees and put her in fleece footed pajamas and something like the blankeaze you can get at onestepahead.com (we made our own) and then even put a blanket on top of that (although i don't know how long this actually stays on). if you don't have an individual thermostat for his room, maybe a heater you can set to a certain temp (and move it out of the way during the day?). when she was younger and couldn't stand we did use the halo fleece sack. i don't know how you could/can use them once your child is standing or walking. it seems it would trip them (my daughter often wakes at night and we hear her bouncing in her crib). can't wait to read other responses!

If you toddler is over 1, then i don't think there are sleep sacks for that age. but honestly, kids run on the higher side temperture wise-which is why 102 temp. is nothing for them but means super sick for us! anyway, i think the onsie and fleece are plenty! We should all sleep on the cooler side. I worried about my daughter too when she was younger because she always kicked the covers off and has only recently kept them on (at around 3) so i wouldn't worry too much about it. Everytime you are up, go check him and put the covers back on if you want.

We also keep our house very cool at night, so I can understand what you mean. My son uses a small comforter and pillow that we bought at Ikea, but he also twists out of it at night at times. The best thing we found for him was the Halo Big Kid's Wearable SleepSack Blanket. It is great for bigger kids and goes up to a size 5T. The cost is around $30. Here is the website: https://www.halosleep.com/products/detail/?product_id=36. There are even foot holes so that he can walk around the house, stay warm, and then tuck his feet inside to go to sleep. Good luck to you!

I had this dilemma, too. We bought an radiator-type oil heater and set it up in our daughter's room. It was perfect for keeping her room warm and didn't use much electricity. (We are totally off-grid, so that is very important to us!)

My suggestion is that you try a small down comforter. It might be a bit of an investement, but they're generally lightweight and a bit stiffer than regular blankets - it would tend to 'hover' over your son when he moves instead of 'draping' him and then getting tangled, but still create a terrific warm pocket for him.


We use the Halo blanket type bags (sleep sac(k)) which you can get on-line (e-bay) or at babys-r-us. You zip it on. We have been putting it on our two year old when we go to bed.(They do come in larger sizes). But during the winter we would put it on her when she went to bed. We also throw a blanket on after she is asleep. The only way I can tell if she is comfortable is that she sleeps thrugh the night. Good luck, S.

I don't think you need to worry about him being cold... It sounds like you over-do-it a bit. A "blanket sleeper" is called such because it somewhat acts as a blanket. A good rule of thumb is to go by your comfort; if you are cold, he may be cold as well and vice versa. Do you and your husband wear sweats to bed? When in doubt, talk to your pediatrician.

I have wonderful sleeping bags that will fit your son for the next few years. I bought them from Europe and I have two that haven't been used at all. I was planning to sale them at my yard-sale next month but if you want you can contact me and try them. They worked for us as they are made like quilt, very light and quite roomy. Let me know!

I'm shocked at all the clothing you put on your child at night. He probably doesn't keep a blanket on because he is sweating to death.
People like to go to bed in a warm room, but our bodies like it cooler than we realize.
We used to keep our entire house at 68-69 deg. at night. Our boys room always felt hot. We have cut back on the heat and although our rooms are cooler than what they used to be, they are quite comfortable. When our boys were younger, we used to put them in sleeper pajamas at night and they would wake up sweaty and hot. They also fussed all night long. Later on we quit putting pajamas on them because they didn't like it. They sleep with fleece blankets, in their underpants/pull-up every night. (The blankets are just fleece remnants that we purchased at the Mill End store in Beaverton.)When ever we put them in pajamas, they always take them off in the middle of the night. When they are cold, they burrough into their blankets and pillows. They are completely fine and happy.
I would suggest putting less clothing on him and put a blanket in his bed, not on top of him. If he gets cold, he will most likely go for his blanket.
I think his fussiness is from being too hot.
Good luck.

I totally understand not wanting to heat your whole house all night long, but that is not fair to your son. His tiny body does not hold heat as well as you, nor does it release heat as well when he is over-bundled. Consider using a space heater with a thermostat on it so it will automatically turn on and off as needed. That way, you only need to heat one room. Try not to think of it as wasting anything, because heat is something your son requires to get a good night's sleep.

We have a space heater with temperature control (automatically shuts off when it reaches a certain level). Make sure it is out of range for him to throw anything on it.

We kept our kids in our beds for quite a long time. I knew they were safe and warm. I cuddled them to keep them from moving too much.

I did read an article about a mother who had a child that slept 'like a frog', kind of curled up on his knees. The boy had problems focusing in school and was labeled AD. She had a nurse friend babysit one night and the nurse noticed the 'frog' like sleeping and suggested he go to a sleep clinic. The child had a sleeping disorder and was never getting any REM. Once they addressed that issue, he did well in school and could focus.

We have an extremely active 2.5 year old who moved all over the crib when he was your son's age. He also burrowed into him bumper to help him sleep at night and now does the same thing with a pillow. We've always kept our house very cold because my husband and I prefer to sleep in a cold house. We found that a down comforter for our son works the best. They make lap down comforters that can be washed that are a good size for a crib and just the right weight so the toddler won't get caught under the comforter. During cold nights we use the down comforter and found that stacking several fleece blankets on top helped him to sleep through the night (the weight of the blankets kept him laying still). Now that it's warming up and he's getting older he will sometimes sleep with just the down and other times ask for his other small fleece blankets to be stacked on top. Our son had reflux as well and also has sensory issues which made it hard for him to sleep at night. I thought he would never sleep through the night and thought that part of the problem was his warmth. I think what helped him the most was having the weights of blankets on him. He never kept a blanket on when he was younger. Not sure if it was his age or if the down with the weights of the small fleece ones did the trick. We did find that he slept much better once we quit using the fleece onsies and switched to two piece pj's. I don't think the fleece allow the active toddlers to regulate their heat. On cold nights we put socks on him. He'd take them off if he got hot, but would leave them on during a cold night.

A pediatrician told me to keep the baby one layer warmer than I'd keep myself (for dressing, actually). So, if I was comfortable in short sleeves, put long sleeves on the baby; if I needed long sleeves, but two layers on the baby. If you're warm enough, he probably is too.

We ended up getting a thermometer for his room. We have a receiver in our room that shows the temp of my son's room and our room. His room is 1/2 over the porch so it's MUCH colder than the rest of the house (100 year old house). He won't tolerate blankets either. We ended up getting a safe to the touch space heater with a thermostat. We've set it so it keeps his room about 65-67 degrees and he seems comfortable (he just wears footy pj's (nothing under or over). When he was younger (he's 2 1/2 now) he wore a onesie underneath the pj's. He seemed to wake a lot more before we started heating the room.

Oh and one thing I do is feel the back of his neck--if it's warm than he's o.k.

I think from what you said he wears, he is probably warm enough. That is the answer, which is dress him warm enough knowing he'll kick off the covers. Some children are more restless than others.

At his age, he should be comfortable with he same coverage as you. If you are comfy with a light pair of pj's and a blanket, then you could put two light layers on him since he doesn't like blankets. You don't want to over dress him because then he may not sleep comfortably. For a very long time my daughter would not keep a blanket on, so I did the two light layers, or just one heavy layer, and that was always sufficient, she always seemed very comfy with that. The biggest thing I think, is to make sure his body is evenly covered. That his legs are covered no more or less than his upper body and that he keeps socks on, or you can use footie pajamas if he doesn't like socks. Hope this helps.

We love the sleep sack. JCPenny's does or used carry toddler sized ones in their catalog. My daughter loves it. My son figured out how to take it off, but he took off his pjs too.

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