What temperature should my baby’s room be during summers in the UAE?

As the summer heat really starts to kick in, parents in the UAE will be looking for ways to keep their babies cool.

Maintaining a safe room temperature when your baby sleeps is very important. Not only will this mean your baby is likely to sleep better, but it will also reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs).

Babies cannot regulate their body temperature until they are around 11 weeks old. This means parents need to monitor their temperature and adjust their clothing and room temperature accordingly.

What temperature should my baby’s room be?

For newborns under two weeks old, the room temperature should be between 24 and 26C, according to Cecile De Scally, senior parent educator at Malaak Mama & Baby Care, a childcare agency in Dubai. .

After two weeks of age, the temperature in the room can be lowered to 22C and parents should watch to make sure the baby is warm enough, she says.

If a baby is too cold, their blood sugar could drop, affecting their health and growth, she says.

But overheating can also be harmful because it “can alter a baby’s arousal mechanisms, breathing, brain oxygenation, and cardiac responses,” says Avril Carr, baby and toddler sleep coach at Al Ain.

Carr advises parents to check their baby’s temperature throughout the night, especially in the summer.

This should be done the first time when you put the baby to bed. Parents should also do this when they go to bed themselves and in the middle of the night, either when the baby wakes up to feed or – if sleeping – by sounding an alarm in the night.

Parents should gently touch their baby’s neck or back.

If the baby feels too “hot or sweaty”, parents should throw away nappies and make the room cooler, says Kate Holmes, support and information manager at the Lullaby Trust.

Don’t check a baby’s temperature by touching their feet or hands as these can often feel cold, regardless of the child’s core temperature, Carr says.

In the summer, as night turns to morning in the UAE, the temperature rises, so parents may need to turn down the air conditioning temperature to compensate, she says.

How can I keep my baby’s room at a safe temperature?

A room thermometer can be useful for measuring temperature and more accurately than the air conditioning thermometer, says De Scally.

Air conditioning is the perfect way to regulate the temperature of a baby’s room, and noise can also help put babies to sleep, Carr says.

Carissa Valentim-Du Toit, head of childcare development at baby and daycare services company CloudNine Kids in Dubai, says parents can maintain the temperature of the baby’s room by ensuring the units are air conditioning are serviced every six months and that there are no objects blocking the vents.

“You also have to adjust the aerator grilles, so that the airflow is not directly on the baby’s bed”, explains Valentim-Du Toit.

Since air conditioning can dry out the air, she recommends using a humidifier or putting a bowl of sterile water in the room.

Parents who use an electric fan should make sure it doesn’t face the baby directly, as it can lower the baby’s body temperature too much, Carr says. Instead, they should face the fan toward the wall to ensure proper airflow.

If the baby’s crib is near a window, move it to a cooler location to prevent sunlight from warming the mattress and sheets during the day, she says.

Can I follow a routine to keep my baby cool at night?

A lukewarm bath (about 38°C) can help gently lower a baby’s core temperature before bedtime and may help them sleep better, Carr says.

Dressing the baby in breathable materials, such as cotton, and clothes that can be taken off easily is also essential on summer nights.

Babies should not wear hats or gloves while sleeping. Spare clothes and blankets should also be removed from the bed as they pose a choking hazard.

A mattress with cooling technology like breathable fibers, which draw heat away from the baby’s body, can also be a good investment in the summer, Carr says.

She recommends putting babies on their backs so they don’t breathe in recycled carbon dioxide.

What if I keep my baby cool during the day?

If you go out for a walk with your baby in the summer, Valentim-Du Toit recommends leaving early in the morning or in the evening for a maximum of 20 minutes.

She suggests turning off the air conditioning before going outside, to allow the baby to gradually adjust to the higher temperature.

When getting into your car in the summer, it’s a good idea to let the air conditioning run for a while before strapping your baby in, she says.

Parents should also make sure their baby’s diaper bag has water, sunscreen, and other essentials to stay safe in the sun.

To prevent tragedies such as car deaths, parents can invest in technology that alerts them to check the back seats before getting out of their vehicle, Carr says.

Another tip is to leave your phone or bag in the back seat, as this means you’re more likely to check the area before leaving the car.

Updated: May 29, 2022, 10:37 a.m.

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Dora W. Clawson