Families often ask us if it is okay to keep the door open for sleep. Our suggestion is always to close the door completely and there are a few reasons for that.
Setting up a positive sleep environment
When we talk about a positive sleep environment, we suggest keeping the room cool and dark. We all sleep better when it is cooler (somewhere between 20 & 22 ℃ is ideal), and darkness helps to cue melatonin, our sleep hormone. If you keep the door open, there is more chance of light entering the room from the hallway.
Closing the door will also keep the noise down in your child’s bedroom. We don’t suggest tiptoeing around when you are sleep training. Close the door and go about your regular routine! Your baby and kids will adjust to your household noises! Do you like to vacuum during naptime? Go for it! Want to watch a funny movie and let out the big laughs? Do it. Even simple things like walking by the bedroom to put something away doesn’t need to be put on hold because they are sleeping.
Keep the pets out
If you have pets then closing the door will keep unwanted visitors out of the bedroom. We have had a few clients report to us that sleep was disrupted by a cat or dog entering the bedroom. Some kids want the pets to sleep with them, but before you say yes, think about whether the animal will ask to come out throughout the night. If they will, then suggest the animal sleeps outside the door instead.
Keeping your child safe in their room
Once your baby is out of a crib and sleeping in a big kid bed, closing the door can help to keep them safe in their room. As we move away from the actual crib, we want to think of making the room the “crib”, and the closed door can be a great visual cue for your child – a visual boundary. Closing the door can help to deter them from wandering into the bathroom or heading downstairs if they wake in the night.
What do firefighters say?
We recently chatted with our local fire department to find out their thoughts on having the doors open or closed during sleep time.
Do you suggest sleeping with the bedroom door open or closed?
I recommend to people they sleep with their bedroom doors closed.
Why do you suggest keeping the door closed for sleep?
In a fire having the door closed will slow the spread of fire, smoke, heat and other dangerous products of combustion.
Is there anything else we should keep in mind?
Make sure your smoke alarms are working! Remember, you need to hear the beep where you sleep. If that is a problem, add interconnected smoke alarm in the bedrooms. Having interconnected alarms is easier to install today thanks to wifi. Strobes are also available for people dead or hard of hearing.
Take a look at UL Fire Safety for additional tips and to take the pledge to close your door (I have). *Do not watch this with children, unless you have seen it and want to share with them.