We get this question from our customers all the time: What is TOG and why is it important for safe sleep?
Most parents are aware of the importance of regulating their newborn’s temperature and the risks of a baby overheating. Overheating is shown to increase the risk of SIDS. What most parents may not know is that the TOG rating can help them choose the right products to help regulate their baby's body temperature.
Perhaps you recognize the term TOG from the last time you went shopping for a duvet...or perhaps you’ve never heard of it before! TOG is a rating commonly used in the textile industry, to rate the warmth of products made from fabrics.
This article will further explain what TOG means and why you should pay attention to it when shopping for your baby.
When your baby is in utero, her temperature is regulated by your own. So when she’s born, her body isn’t sure of how to regulate temperature by itself. In fact, it can take 10 months, sometimes even longer, for your baby to learn how to regulate their body temperature! In the meantime, parents need to keep an eye on their babies, especially while sleeping, to make sure they are comfortable.
Just like you, your baby will be uncomfortable if they are too hot or too cold. However, an irregular temperature for your baby can sometimes mean more than a little discomfort. When you’re chilly, you can simply throw on a jacket or sweater, and when you’re feeling warm you can shed a layer or two. But newborns don’t have those abilities yet.
Infant hypothermia can set in if body temperature drops below 97.7degree F (95 degrees F for adults). Whereas overheating can occur at body temperature above 100.4 degrees.
Keep your baby’s room at a safe temperature and dress them accordingly. The recommended temperature for your baby’s room is 68-72 degrees F. If your nursery doesn’t have its own thermostat, you can buy an indoor thermometer to monitor the temp (using fans and opening windows also helps to regulate the room temperature), but a good rule of thumb to judge by is your own comfort. If you feel too warm, your baby probably does too, and if you’re feeling chilly, your baby is probably cold. Likewise, if you’re comfortable outside in shorts and a t-shirt, your baby can probably wear shorts and a t-shirt (remember to use sunscreen and/or a wide brimmed hat on those sunny days!) and if you need to wear a jacket or sweater, then your baby probably needs an extra layer too.
What is TOG?
So, what is TOG and what’s it have to do with temperature regulation? TOG or Thermal Overall Grade, is a measurement of thermal insulation of a garment. The higher the TOG rating, the warmer the fabric.
We share the TOG rating of all our products to help you determine which product is right for your baby based on your the room temperature. Because babies don’t generate heat well, but they absorb it easily, it’s important to be mindful of how much and what kind of clothing they are wearing, especially when they go to sleep. It’s unsafe to keep loose bedding or blankets in the crib with your little one, so we use clothing and wearable blankets, like the Zen Sack and Zen Swaddle, to keep babies comfortable while sleeping.
Our classic and premier lines are made with different fabrics, so the TOG rating is different for each. Our Zen Sack is also available in a winter weight for extra warmth during colder months. The chart below outlines the fabric and TOG rating for each of our products.
|70% bamboo, 30% cotton||1.0|
|70% bamboo, 30% cotton||0.3|
|100% cotton, poly-fil||2.5|
We chose to make our Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack with breathable fabrics like cotton and bamboo to lower any risk of overheating while wearing our products. Our lightweight fabrics ensure that your baby will not overheat due to swaddling alone. Our Zen Swaddle and Zen Sack both allow for layering underneath, so you can use clothing to help regulate your baby’s temperature. Both our cotton and bamboo blend fabrics have ow TOG ratings between 0.3 to 1.5, to help keep your baby comfortable without the risk of being overheated.
Being a New England-based company, we recognized the need for something warmer during winter months that wouldn’t require multiple layers of clothing. Our winter weight Zen Sack is designed to have a higher TOG of 2.5, meaning it is extra warm and plush for colder temperatures. It’s truly a wearable blanket for your baby.
Our Recommendations Based on TOG and Temperature
Another common question we get looks something like this:
“I live in Arizona. Should I get the classic or premier for my baby?”
Or “I live in Minnesota. Will the classic or premier swaddle be warm enough?”
Our first piece of advice to parents is always to monitor the temperature of your home and your baby’s room. If it stays at the recommended temperature (68-72 degrees F) then any of our products will be comfortable for your baby.
Other things to consider when deciding between classic, premier, and our winter weight are the fabric properties. The classic (100% cotton) and premier (70% bamboo, 30% cotton) have very similar TOG ratings, the premier being a slightly thinner material. Cotton is widely considered the most comfortable and breathable fabric out there - we’ve all seen those “the fabric of my life” commercials. Our bamboo fabric blend is equally as comfy, but luxuriously soft. Additionally, bamboo is known for its moisture-wicking and temperature regulating properties.
There really is no wrong choice when deciding between our classic and premier lines, but if you’re really stuck, we suggest that families who live in more southern areas with warmer year-round temperatures consider the premier Zen Swaddle or Zen Sack and those of us living in cooler climates consider the classic. We also typically suggest the premier line to parents that find their baby gets hot rather easily, since it is a lighter-weight material. Although, as we mentioned, either choice is fine and poses no risk for overheating. So, if you live in Florida but you’re totally in love with our Bubble Chasers (a classic print) Zen Swaddle, or you live in Maine and your heart is set on our Deepsea Divers (a premier print), go ahead: buy the style that your baby is going to look the most adorable in. After all, that’s why we swaddle, right? Because our babies look like adorable little burritos (just kidding...you can read all about why we swaddle here).
Our Zen Sack winter is recommended for just that: winter. It’s TOG rating is significantly higher than our classic and premier lines thanks to the poly-fil inside and soft cotton outer-layer, which make it ideal for the cold. The winter weight Zen Sack, although amazingly soft and cozy, is most likely not suitable for warmer months.