If you are wondering about the most effective ways to keep your baby cool on a hot summer day (or night) without an air-conditioner, you are in the right place.
While it’s true that no amount of life hacks can match the cooling effect of an AC, there are plenty of easy and affordable ways to help your baby beat the heat like a champ.
Loose-fitting cotton clothing, a breezy nursery, and occasional sponge baths are just a few of the easy ways to keep your baby cool without air conditioning. When using a fan, direct it against a wall. That way, it will cool the room without blowing directly onto the baby.
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10 ways to keep your baby cool without air conditioning
1. Comfortable Clothing
Let’s start with the most straightforward trick in the book – comfortable, loose-fitting garments. I live in one of the hottest and most humid parts of the States, making lightweight fabrics like cotton my go-to for my kids in summer.
Cotton is a highly breathable, skin-friendly material that cools down the body by soaking up excess sweat and allowing heat to escape. Kids’ cotton garments come in various styles and colors as well.
If you are worried about pure cotton clothes getting too wrinkly too soon, you can try a cotton-polyester blend or rayon. Linen is another great choice for fabric for keeping babies cool in a non-AC nursery.
The material can absorb excess sweat without clinging to the body or getting heavy.
More detailed information on how to dress your baby for sleep you can find in this post.
2. Keeping the Nursery Breezy
You know, babies have been doing just fine without air conditioners since the dawn of humankind. To maintain the ideal room temperature in the nursery (between 16-20 degrees), all you have to do is get the air circulating.
If it’s excessively hot outside, keep the blinds or curtains close but the windows open to encourage cross-ventilation. Put a pedestal or table fan directed against the wall to keep the air circulating.
Just make sure it’s not directly pointed at or too close to the baby. Speaking for fans, you might want to check out this detailed piece on the safest fans for toddlers.
3. Blocking the Sunlight
Be thorough when choosing drapery fabric for the baby’s room. Although dark-colored curtains will block most of the sunlight, the backside of the curtains will absorb a good amount of it.
On the other hand, light shades reflect the light and brighten up the room. DOE (Department of Energy) recommends medium-shade draperies for maximum heat gain reduction. Pastel shades are a great option as well for brightening up the space while minimizing heat absorption.
Heat-resistant fabrics like cotton and linen are ideal material choices for summer curtains. You can also opt for insulated drapes with multiple layers or bamboo blinds for the nursery window if the weather outside is too much to handle for the good old-fashioned curtains.
Or try hanging a wet sheet over the window for a more budget-friendly, instant cooling solution.
4. Choosing the Right Bedding and Bedtime Clothing
The hottest days of the year call for light clothes and light bedding. Keep the bedding as minimal as possible to keep the baby from overheating. Natural fibers like cotton and linen breathe incredibly well, making them a befitting choice for summer bedding. Linen has a better moisture-wicking capability compared to cotton.
If you use waterproof or plastic sheets, either remove them or top them off with a light cotton or linen sheet to keep your little one sweat-free and cool throughout the day. Alternatively, you can use a plastic undersheet with a detachable cover.
You can also invest in special cooling mats filled with hydrophilic cooling gel if the above solutions don’t work as expected. You can store them in the freezer and take them out a few hours before placing them on the bed.
It’s perfectly all right for them to sleep wearing nothing more than a nappy and a vest when the mercury hits too high, and there’s no air conditioner to the rescue.
5. Increase Baby’s Fluid Intake
Another key to staying cool and refreshed during summer without an AC or cooler is to stay at the top of your hydration game. Along with plenty of water and breast milk, fruit juices, milkshakes can be a healthy source of hydration for kids.
For babies of 0-6 months, frozen breast milk popsicles can be fun to up fluid intake. If your kid has started taking solid foods, summer is the time to load them up with nutrient-dense, water-rich fruits like watermelon, blueberries, apples, pineapples, cucumber, and cantaloupe.
Coconut water is loaded with electrolytes which can quickly replenish water and electrolyte loss from sweating. It’s a much healthier alternative to sugar-filled sports drinks for super active, athletic kids and teens.
Keeping toddlers optimally hydrated is easier when you make it enjoyable. Make popsicles with fruit juices or fill the ice trays with small chunks of fruit and water. Add the fruit ice cubes to a glass of water from time to time.
To detect signs of dehydration, pay attention to urination frequency and body temperature.
If the urine output is less than usual or/and their skin is hot to the touch, chances are your baby is in danger of dehydration.
6. Switching to Cloth Diapers
Disposable diapers are convenient, sure! But they aren’t the most summer-friendly option around, not to mention they will sit in the landfill for ages.
Cloth nappies made of breathable fabric will prevent overheating in a humid climate and keep the baby tush rash-free.
7. Letting Baby Sleep in the Coolest Part of the House
When the heat is at its peak during the daytime, consider placing the bassinet or crib in a well-shaded, cool corner of the house, away from direct sunlight. You might have to shift the crib from time as the sun’s position changes. Make sure to cool the area surrounding the crib for optimal comfort.
Simply place a few frozen water bottles or a wet towel on a chair in the room and set the fan to max speed.
8. Giving Sponge Baths
Sponge baths are an excellent way to regulate the baby’s body temperature in scorching hot weather. Use lukewarm to cold water to sponge off lightly a couple of times a day. Make sure not to drench the baby and avoid using body soaps.
9. Having fun with Water Activities
Do you know what kids really love? Splashing around in the water. Get an inflatable pool, sprinkler, or maybe just a water gun and let them knock themselves out in the garden. And while you do that, don’t just watch them having fun. Join the party! Parents get hot too, you know?
10. Going Easy on the Body Massage Oil
Heavy body massage oils and high humidity aren’t really the best of friends. These oils make the skin sticky, causing severe discomfort.
Instead, switch to lighter oils like olive or coconut oil. These are both skin-friendly and get easily absorbed without leaving the skin greasy.
Sunlight and scorching heat are the two things parents need to be extra cautious about. Babies are highly temperature-sensitive. Having an air-conditioner certainly helps, but no need to get anxious if your nursery doesn’t have one. Babies have been braving soaring temperatures without the help of an AC or air cooler since forever.
As long as you follow a combination of the tips listed above, your little piece of sunshine is going to be perfectly fine without an air-conditioner, I promise!
This post was kindly contributed by Sujana Wilson, a mommy of two littles and blogger at SmilyParents.