Photo by Marisa Fahrner
Summer is here and it’s all fun and games until the heat wave hits and you’re stuck indoors with your sweaty and grumpy baby. While air conditioning is ideal for keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, it’s not always possible to have or afford it. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, read on for our top tips to help your baby stay cool this summer without AC.
Babies can’t regulate their body temperature as well as adults, so it’s important to take extra care to keep them cool in hot weather. A heat rash type situation or heat exhaustion can quickly develop, both of which can be extremely dangerous for babies.
My daughter was only 2 months old when she had her first heat wave and I was honestly clueless about how to keep her comfortable. Thankfully, we made it through without any major meltdowns (from either of us) and I learned a lot in the process.
Here are the most effective strategies for keeping your baby cool without air conditioning:
Use Fans Wisely
A cheap and energy-efficient cooling strategy is to use a fan in your baby’s room or wherever your baby is in your house. If the air outside is cooler than the inside, open the windows and set up a fan to circulate the cooler air inside the room. If it’s hotter outside, close the windows and close the blinds to keep the sun out and keep the fan on low to provide a gentle breeze.
Keep in mind that a fan is effective at cooling your space only as long as the humidity is relatively high. A cool tip to keep moisture in the air is to get some solid ice packs and hook them in front of the fan to maximize the cooling effect of the breeze. You can also put a tray of water in front of the fan which will give the room a lake effect that can be refreshing for your baby.
Get a Portable Ac Unit
If you don’t have central air conditioning, a portable AC unit can be a game-changer for your baby’s comfort during the hot summer months. You can get a reliable one for a reasonable price like this one from Amazon, and if you’re just using it in your baby’s room then the marginal energy cost will be worth the relief it provides.
If you go with a portable AC unit, make sure you line the window hose to get a good seal into your window so that the cold air isn’t escaping outside. Any warm air that gets in can significantly offset the cooling power of the unit so it’s important to have a good seal. You can also use a door seal that works great for balcony or patio doors and will help you reduce the heat transfer.
Set up Blackout Curtains
If you don’t want to use a portable AC unit, another low-cost way to keep your baby’s room cool is by using blackout curtains. Blackout curtains are great at blocking out the sun and heat, and they can keep your room significantly cooler. Keep them closed during the day when it’s the sunniest and hottest, and open the windows at night to let the cooler air in.
Blackout curtains work great in combination with other cooling strategies like a fan or a portable ac unit, but you can notice a difference even when used alone. The difference in temperature can be up to 5 degrees cooler with blackout curtains, which can make a big difference for your baby (and you!).
Dress Your Baby in Light, Loose Clothing
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to make sure that your baby is dressed in light, loose clothing during the hot weather. Natural fabrics like cotton are the best choice as they’re breathable and won’t make your baby sweat.
Dressing your baby in (thin breathable) layers can be a good strategy to avoid overheating as you can remove pieces of clothing if your baby starts to get too warm. Babies overheat easily and won’t be able to tell you that. You can even go diaper only during the hotter nights to help your baby stay cool.
Give Your Baby a Cool Bath
Babies generally love baths and they’re an excellent way to help your little one cool down. Make sure the water is lukewarm and not too cold, as you don’t want to shock their system. You can also add a little bit of lavender oil to the bathwater which has a calming effect and can help your baby sleep better.
Alternatively, you can offer your baby some water play time outside in a kiddie pool or sprinkler. This can be a fun and refreshing activity for both you and your baby, and it’s a great way to beat the heat! If your baby is too small for water play, you can still wet a washcloth and put it on your baby every now and then to keep her cool.
Cool the Sheets
If your baby is having trouble sleeping because it’s too hot, you can try cooling the sheets. Just take the sheets from her cot and put them in the freezer for a while before putting them back on for bedtime. This will help your baby sleep better as the sheets will be cooler and more comfortable.
Remember to put the sheets inside a Ziploc bag before putting them in the freezer so that they don’t get damp.
Go out To Cool Places!
When the heat gets too much, a sweet escape to a cool place like stores or shopping malls can be just what you and your baby need. You can take your baby along with you while you get some errands done, or just enjoy some time walking around in the air conditioning.
There are many ways to keep your baby cool without air conditioning, and the best way is often a combination of different strategies. By following these tips, you can make sure that your baby stays cool and comfortable all summer long! Whatever you do, make sure you keep your baby (and yourself) hydrated.
Do you have any other tips for keeping babies cool in the summer? Share them with us in the comments below!