Babies and children are especially vulnerable to extremes of temperature and many parents I’ve spoken to are finding it hard to get their kids to sleep when it’s so hot at night.
1. Cool a towel in the freezer and drape over the back of the neck. I was amazed at how effective this was for cooling down. Also try cold flannels on pressure points like the wrists and temples.
2. Place feet in a bowl of cool water.
3. Let your child sleep in as little clothes as possible. If your baby sleeps in a Grobag, try using a pillowcase instead. You could try a hot water bottle filled with cold water before bed and/or a cool bath. Avoid cold baths as they encourage the body to warm itself up.
4. Wear cool loose clothes – follow the example of people who live in hot countries and cover up in loose, flowing layers that let the air move. If you’re literally burning up, soak clothes in water, wring out and let the water evaporate whilst wearing them – this is very cooling. Better yet, if you’re home for the day, go naked!
5. Eat spicy food – this is another tip from hot countries. Hot spicy foods like curries containing onions, ginger and chilli encourage your body to sweat. Sweating is the body’s natural way to cool down.
6. Keep the blinds drawn during the day – metallic and dark-coloured curtains can make the room hotter so opt for light coloured blinds or curtains. Failing that, try a sarong or large piece of pale material pinned to the window. When the day has cooled off, open the windows for ventilation. Aim for air circulation, so open windows/doors in opposite areas or top and bottom windows.
7. Stay out of the main heat of the day – between 11am and 3pm. It might be worth adjusting your family’s body clock just a bit by getting up earlier when the day is cooler, and all taking a nap or a rest after lunch.
8. Keep hydrated. Dehydration is the most common cause of health problems relating to the heat. Tea and coffee are diuretics so opt for lots of water. For a refreshing drink, add slices of cucumber and mint; the menthol in mint is very cooling. Keep your baby’s bottle topped up with water and encourage regular sips throughout the day.
9. Check on vulnerable people in your neighbourhood – elderly people, and those with disabilities and illness are most at risk. Pop in and make sure they’re keeping cool and hydrated.
BONUS EXTRA TIP!
Freeze bottles of water and put them on plates in your child’s bedroom – as they defrost they will cool the air. Also, place a fan near a window to circulate cool air rather than hot air from elsewhere in the room.