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photo of a mum and baby being tested by Dr Davide Filingeri

20 Feb 2018

NHS guidance about dressing infants in “one extra layer” is being put to the test

Scientists are examining NHS guidance to parents which recommends dressing infants in one extra layer of clothing when using a sling.

Researchers at Loughborough University have put the advice to the test by studying the effects of ‘baby-wearing’, with and without the extra layer, on the body temperature of children under 12-months-old.

Current guidelines suggest wrapping youngsters in an additional item of clothing – one more than the parent.

However, Dr Davide Filingeri, who is leading the project, said there is no scientific evidence to support the NHS’s recommendation and has begun testing parents and their little ones to see what effect it actually has.

He said: “This research aims to improve our understanding of how warm babies get as a result of being held close to an adult in a sling and to consider whether the current NHS advice of dressing a baby in one extra layer than the parents is appropriate during babywearing.

“Currently, the guidance for baby clothing is given for all babies regardless of whether they are lying on the floor, sitting in a buggy or positioned in a sling.

“This is surprising when considering that during babywearing the temperature and heat generated by the carrying adult is likely to greatly affect the temperature of the carried child, hence consideration should be given to how these external factors might shift baby body temperature beyond safety limits.

“As the NHS ‘one extra layer’ advice may not be necessary or desirable during babywearing and especially in warm weather conditions, there is an urgent need to evaluate infant thermoregulation during babywearing, to provide evidence in support and/or against current healthcare advice.”

Find out more about the testing being conducted by Dr Filingeri and his team by reading the full press release