Having a knowledge to dress your baby for sleep is an essential part of parenting that directly impacts your child's healthy growth, comfort, and safety. This becoming more important in winter, and a crucial element to decide is the TOG rating of your baby's sleepwear or sleeping bag.
TOG stands for Thermal Overall Grade, a standardised measurement unit for thermal protection in the textile industry. It calculates a textile's thermal resistance or warmth, giving parents a reliable guide to how warm a garment will keep their baby.
Of course, this thermal protection is very important in outside strolls, but we will now concentrate on the sleeping part in general.
The Importance of TOG Rating
Understanding TOG ratings is particularly important for infant and newborn clothes and accessories. These little ones are more sensitive to environmental temperature changes and cannot regulate their body temperature easily like older kids. (You may refer to another blog from us, “How to dress your baby in winter” too.)
In example, overheating can be a severe concern, increasing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Excess heat may also cause to discomfort, restlessness, and disrupted sleep patterns for babies, while a less protection can cause make them get cold easily, too. Therefore, choosing the right products based on your climate conditions is not just a matter of comfort, but of health & safety as well.
Understanding the TOG Ratings
TOG ratings typically have a range from 0.5 to 3.5 TOG in baby/kids clothing.
Each rating address to a specific purpose and is suitable for different conditions. Here's an expanded TOG guide to help you understand each rating:
- 5 TOG: This rating can be equivalent of summer temperatures in house like 75-77°F (24-25°C). A sleep cover like sleeping bag (or a baby blanket) with this rating is usually lightweight and made of breathable fabric. Your baby would typically wear a short-sleeve onesies, body or just a diaper when using a 0.5 TOG-rated product.
- 0 TOG: This rating is for when autumn comes and for the go-to rating for homes that can control the temperature between 68-72°F (20-22°C). A sleep cover (or blanket) with this rating is usually made of cotton or other natural jersey (double layer preferable, like here). Your baby would be comfortable under (or within) this sleep cover with a one-piece footed jumpsuit or with footie bottom and long sleeve top.
- 5 TOG: This rating suits colder seasons (heavy winter) or homes without sufficient heating. Such sleep covers would typically have double layers and retain high body heat. These layers usually have a filing layer between, you may refer to our previous blog page. And under (or within) this cover you would usually put-on your baby a one-piece footed jumpsuit or footed pyjama with long sleeves, together with an additional layer of clothing (like a short sleeve body) underneath for extra warmth of chest/body part.
- 5 TOG: Usually we use such rated items for outside trip/strolls, when in winter conditions. To ensure such a protection, first a thin body layer putting on (a baby body), then a protective thicker layer with feet and long sleeves using as the clothing. Then an outer jacket/coat using with multilayer property to complete outfit. (this coat should have a wind/rain proof outside layer to keep warm air inside) And, of course, beanie and gloves should not be forgotten.
Additional factors to keep in mind:
- Room Temperatures: The ideal room temperature for a baby's room is between 68-72°F (20-22°C). The modern baby monitors can display this information or you may use a separate thermometer reader for your baby's room.
- Multilayering: Layering your baby's sleep clothing allows for greater flexibility in adjusting their warmth without risking overheating. Each additional layer of clothing effectively adds to the overall TOG rating, providing more options for keeping your baby comfortable.
- Materials: The material of the sleeping garment is another critical factor. Natural fibres like cotton (of course, organic cotton is much better, especially for underlayers) are excellent for thermal regulation and are 100% breathable. They prevent sweating and reduce fluctuations in temperature during the night, contributing positively to your baby's health. Synthetics especially with long fibres or brushed materials should be avoided as much as possible. If those are used, their fibre losing properties should be checked carefully.
- Consider Your Baby's Choices: Babies, like adults, have individual preferences regarding comfort. Always check your baby regularly to ensure they are neither overheating nor too cold. Adjust the TOG rating and layer of clothing as needed according to his/her reactions. And please ensure regular control of your baby’s body temperature until you are having enough experience. (visual check for his/her sweating or a simply touching to the nose or forehead to feel his/her cold or heat)
- And last note, you can easily prepare your baby to sleep in her/his room. A calm and dimly lit atmosphere will better adapt them to sleep time; so, the sleeping bag or onesies will match with sleep/rest in their mind to get into sleep easier.
Finally, understanding TOG ratings and how to dress your baby for sleep can initially seem overwhelming. However, with consideration of the factors mentioned here, you may have an easier decision. That ensures a restful and safe sleep for your little one to grow. Remember, when you used higher TOG rated sleeping cover, make lighter the sleeping garment, so your baby will sleep better, will have well-being and health.
Mahir Ozden (Ph.D., Textile Engineer)