What temperature should my baby's room be during UAE summers?

As the mercury creeps upwards, parents are concerned about keeping children cool

Parents need to make sure babies don't overheat while sleeping during summer. Unsplash / Garrett Jackson
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As the summer heat truly begins to kick in, parents in the UAE will be searching for ways to keep their babies cool.

Maintaining a safe room temperature when your baby is asleep is very important. Not only will this mean your baby is likely to sleep better, but it also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (Sids).

Babies can’t regulate their body temperatures until they are about 11 weeks old. This means parents have to monitor their temperature and adjust their clothing and room temperature accordingly.

What temperature should my baby’s room be?

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

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

If a baby is too cold, his or her blood sugar could drop, which affects their health and growth, she says.

Maternity expert Cecile de Scally says that feeling cold can cause babies' blood sugar to drop, affecting their health and growth. Photo: Malaak Mama & Baby Care

But overheating can also be harmful as it “can impair a baby’s arousal mechanisms, respiratory drive, cerebral oxygenation and cardiac responses”, says Avril Carr, a baby and toddler sleep coach in Al Ain.

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

This should be done the first time when putting the baby to bed. Parents should also do it when they go to bed themselves and again in the middle of the night, either when the baby wakes to feed or — if he or she is sleeping through — by setting an alarm in the night.

Parents should gently feel the back of their baby’s neck or back.

If the baby feels too “hot or sweaty”, parents should shed layers and make the room cooler, says Kate Holmes, head of support and information at The Lullaby Trust.

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

In summer, as night turns to morning in the UAE, the temperature increases, so parents may need to lower 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 helpful to gauge the temperature and more accurately than the air-conditioning thermometer, says De Scally.

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

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

“You should also adjust the grilles of the vent, so the airflow is not directly on the baby’s cot,” says Valentim-Du Toit.

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

Parents using an electric fan should make sure it isn’t facing the baby directly as this can lower the infant’s body temperature too much, says Carr. Instead, they should face the fan towards the wall to ensure good air circulation.

If the baby’s cot is near a window, move it to a cooler spot to prevent the 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 (around 38ºC) can help gently reduce a baby’s core temperature before bed and can help him or her to sleep better, says Carr.

Dressing the baby in breathable materials, such as cotton, and clothes that can be removed 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 cot as they pose a suffocation risk.

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

She recommends putting babies to sleep on their backs, so they are not breathing recycled carbon dioxide.

What about keeping my baby cool during the day?

If going out for a walk with your baby in the summer, Valentim-Du Toit recommends going in the early morning or evening for no longer than 20 minutes.

She suggests turning the air-conditioning off before going out, 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 ensure their baby's change bag contains water, sun cream and other essentials to stay safe in the sun.

To avoid tragedies such as hot car deaths, parents can invest in technology that alerts them to check the back seats before they exit their vehicle, says Carr.

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

Updated: May 29, 2022, 10:37 AM