Take some advice from parents who raised babies, sleeping and awake, while our family lived on the edge of Southern Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. In summer, which lasted from about the end of May through September, daily temperatures often rose to 110 degrees by nine am. It wasn’t unusual on summer noontimes for the thermometers to boil up to 115.
Now that our kids are adults and thriving with their own families in Arizona and various other parts of the nation, we must have done the right routines to keep our sleeping babies cool in the AZ weather. Maybe some of our suggestions could help other parents who want their babies to stay comfortably cool while the sun heats up everything else around them.
1. Whenever the baby is in the crib on a very hot day, be sure there’s a gentle breeze of fresh air present, preferably from an open window, but almost as effective if from an electric fan or air conditioning. Also, if you need to light the room, keep it cooler with just one or two 25-watt lamps with shades, placed at least six feet away from the crib.
2. When the temperature rises, dress the baby in light clothes, preferable wide-weave linen that allows cool air in and out. For covers, use smooth linen sheets instead of wool blankets or other thick cloths. To prevent heat and diaper rash, change the baby’s diaper quickly when it becomes soiled.
3. Very early on summer mornings, quietly take your baby from the crib while still asleep (if you’re lucky) and into a carriage. Go out just before sunrise, about five a.m., for a 15 to 30-minute stroll, preferably where there are large shade trees. The cool air and gentle rocking motion of the carriage will allow the baby to continue sleeping. As the sun comes up, pull the carriage top down so the baby remains in the darkened shade. Don’t take your baby out during midday when the temperature reaches 90 or above.
4. Do the same type of stroll in the evening, just a half hour after sundown, around eight p.m. Be sure the baby has had a bottle, and diaper has been changed. Your 30-minute evening stroll will help the baby fall asleep, and (if you’re again lucky) the comfortable and cool baby will sleep for three or four hours straight. Then, Dad or Mom will have the pleasure of making another diaper change, some rock-a-bye and midnight feeding chores.
There are many ways to keep your sleeping baby cool in hot weather, most of them just plain common sense. However, if you happen to live in a Southwestern desert area, you may find that you must be a bit more creatively cool.