How to keep your baby cool at night when there's a heatwave

If you have a newborn, you'll need to know how to keep your baby cool during hot summer nights. Use this simple guide to keep your baby safe

a retro blue fan in a nursery room
(Image credit: GettyImages-1359815897)

Knowing how to keep your baby cool at night is vital – whether you're at home or going abroad.

And the best nursery room ideas come with a few practical additions that can help keep your baby comfortable at night throughout the year.

Noah Levin, Chief Marketing Officer at Babysense (opens in new tab) explains, 'As adults, we know how frustrating it can be when the country is in the midst of a heatwave and you’re struggling to find ways to cool down. It’s almost impossible for a baby to communicate this with you, which is why it’s important we do all we can to keep their body temperature as cool as possible.'

You can use many of the tips in our feature on how to cool down a room fast to keep your baby's nursery cool. But below, we give you some easy tips on how to cool down a baby room to follow to stick to so that you can ensure your baby stays safe, hydrated, and happy at night in hot weather.

1. Give your baby a cool bath

A splash in the tub is the perfect way to cool your bub down after a long hot day, as it can lower the body's core temperature. If your baby's due a bath, run a cool/lukewarm bath instead of the warm one you might normally run. 

If not, you can dab your baby's body with tepid – not cold – towels at bedtime. Or if you'd prefer to keep things al fresco, you could give your baby a dip in a paddling pool. 

Your baby will love a paddling pool, but ensure the water's not too cold. Ideally it should only be slightly cooler than their bath. And don't forget the swim nappy if other children will be using it – or if you want to reuse the pool again later. Use our guide to the best paddling pools to find one you can order now for the weekend.

'It’s a good idea to give your child a cool bath before putting them to sleep. Doing this will bring their body temperature down to a cooler level, helping them remain at a comfortable temperature throughout the night,' says Levin. 

ikea curtains in a room painted blue - IKEA

(Image credit: IKEA)

2. Keep the blinds or curtains closed 

One of the best ways to cool down a room without AC is to keep blinds or curtains closed. This will help shield the room from the sun's rays but you'll also want to keep the airflow going throughout the day. 

Levin explains, 'We’re all aware that shaded areas are cooler than those exposed to the sun. With this in mind, keep the curtains in your baby's room drawn throughout the day, as this will block out direct sunlight and help to maintain a cooler environment.'

3. Keep the baby room well ventilated

'As well as having the curtains drawn, it’s also a great idea to keep the window open slightly, as this will allow a cool breeze to enter the room. It’s important not to open them too much, as loud noises can disrupt your baby's sleeping pattern,' explains Levin.

a nursery room with changing table, cot and seat

(Image credit: Ikea)

4. Hang damp towels over radiators

Levin advises, 'A great idea is to hang damp towels over a radiator or door, as this can help to cool the air around your baby. Simply soak a towel with cold water, ring it out as much as possible and hang, and this will help create a cooler environment for your little one.'

5. Keep your baby hydrated

This is vital. If you're still breastfeeding, NHS advice (opens in new tab) is that you don't need to give them water too – but you may find they're thirstier for your milk than usual. If you're bottle-feeding, give your baby cooled boiled water in between feeds. Again, NHS advice is that if your baby wakes at night during hot weather and has had his/her feed already, try cooled, boiled water first. 

Other ways to keep your baby cool, especially if they're disinterested in drinking just water? If they're over six months old, you can swap water for diluted fruit juice or homemade ice cubes on sticks they can hold (just be ready to grab the stick when they're finished). And if they're on solids, swapping hot meals for chilled food, and supplementing their diet with salads and fruits will help them feel cool and keep them hydrated during the day.

a retro blue fan in a nursery room

(Image credit: GettyImages-1359815897)

6. Invest in a good fan

Another tip is to invest in a fan for your baby's room which you can turn on about half an hour before bedtime. Better still, use a fan with a bowl of ice in front of it to circulate cool air in the room. 

Use our buyer's guide to the best fans to find one that suits you. Wondering how to make your fan blow cold air? Check out these genius cooling hacks. 

Babymoov YOO Feel Video Baby Monitor

(Image credit: Babymoov )

7. Pick a baby monitor with a thermometer

Pick a baby monitor that has a thermometer within it so that you can keep an eye on the room temperature during the evening and night. 

Ideally it should be up to around 20ºC maximum for your baby to sleep comfortably. See our pick of the best baby monitors now; our top buy is the BT video baby monitor 6000, but there are tons of great choices on our list.

8. Choose light layers at bedtime

When the temperature reaches over 23ºC, ditch the layers for a cool, cotton, short-sleeved body suit. Loose, natural layers are the best on hot nights when trying to cool your baby down for sleep. 

The general rule of thumb for clothing at night is that your baby will need one extra layer of light clothing to what you need. So if you don't need anything to sleep in, a light vest over their nappy is the right amount of clothing. If temperatures soar over 27ºC, you can put them in a nappy only.

baby legs with blue sheet

(Image credit: Lajlo on Etsy)

9. Opt for cooling surfaces and cotton sheets

Cotton or bamboo sheets are a must when sleeping in the heat whether you're a baby or a fully-fledged adult, to absorb sweat and generally keep things cool.

You can grab 100% cotton sheets like these Clair du Lune fitted sheets on Amazon (opens in new tab) or invest in silky bamboo cot sheets by Panda which are also available at Amazon (opens in new tab). And if you need a light cover for your baby during hot nights, we'd recommend a cooling bamboo blanket like this blue bamboo blanket from Lajlo on Etsy (opens in new tab)

Do babies cry if they are too warm?

According to the Safe Sleep Academy (opens in new tab), 'The temperature can make your baby cry. They may cry because they are too hot or too cold. If your baby is fussy because of the temperature, there are signs that you can look for. Signs of the baby being too hot are sweating, damp hair, heat rash, or clammy skin.'

Why shouldn't you direct a fan at a baby?

A fan is a great addition to a hot baby room but it's important to remember to not put the fan on too fast as your babe could lose too much body heat. Try to avoid blasting them directly with the fan, place it out of their reach, and use it on its lowest setting.

Tower fans are a great choice over any other versions as they can be quieter, helping your baby sleep undisturbed.

Jenny McFarlane
Jenny McFarlane

Jenny is Senior Digital Editor and joined the team in January 2021. She also works on the homes brands' video show, on the Future Homes Network (opens in new tab), which is packed full of ideas to help you make the most of your own home and garden. Since getting on the property market with her first apartment and then more recently a house, her passion for interior design and gardening has taken on a new lease of life. Jenny's currently on the lookout for a doer-upper to put her stamp on. She loves collecting and salvaging unique items (much to her other half's despair) but sniffing out stylish home bargains is her one true love. When she has a spare minute, she loves to do a spot of crafting, having studied textiles at Uni – although she hardly gets the chance with a toddler who keeps her permanently on her toes.

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