When you're preparing to welcome your bundle of joy, you spend a great deal of time making sure the crib is set-up and the drawers are stocked with baby blankets and burp cloths. However, there is one aspect of your home that your may not have thought about: the air conditioning. What can you do to get your HVAC system ready for your infant?
Temperature And Safety
Cooling the air in your home is not only perfectly safe for your infant, but it can actually contribute to a healthy environment. An air conditioning system helps to preserve a comfortable room temperature, and it also regulates humidity levels in the home, which can improve air circulation from room to room, preventing the growth of mildew or bacteria. Young babies can have trouble regulating their temperatures at first, so they will not be as efficient as you are in cooling themselves in a too-hot environment, which is why climate control is desirable.
On the flip-side, babies will also have a more difficult time warming themselves if rooms become too cold. Because it is not recommended for babies to sleep with blankets (these increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), you will need to make sure you are not too zealous in your cooling and that you heat your home adequately during the winter months. Over cooling a room can lead to dry skin and respiratory problems. Therefore, experts recommend keeping the home between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you can keep the home slightly warmer during the day, up to 74 degrees. Any cooler or hotter makes it more difficult for your baby to sleep soundly at night and to maintain wakeful periods during the day.
Babies can develop hypothermia if a room is too cool. Try to keep your baby from getting to cold by keep the crib away from vents and intake filters. The cold air can blow over your infant, making them more cold, even if the thermostat is set to a reasonable level. You can also help to maintain a comfortable sleeping environment by directing fans away from your baby, as the air movement can create a chill with the cooler environment.
Air conditioners can bring other health concerns if they are not properly maintained. For example, if an air conditioning unit is not cleaned and serviced, bacteria can begin to thrive in the ducts, leading to bacterial infections like Legionnaire's disease. Air conditioners can also spread pollen and other allergens through the home, which can make babies more susceptible to congestion. These possibilities can be prevented by:
- having your air conditioner serviced by a professional. Air filters should be changed frequently, as these help remove airborne allergens and dust. Servicing the air conditioner helps it to work more efficiently, especially in maintaining indoor humidity levels.
- cleaning vent openings with a duster. Dust and grime can coat the exits and entrances for cold air in your home. Whenever the air blows, mold spores and dust loosen and are re-released into the room.
- keeping indoor humidity at recommended levels-- 50% or lower. Lower humidity prevents dust mites, bacteria, and mildew growth.
- getting your ducts cleaned if they have not been cleaned in a long time, ideally before baby arrives.
Keeping your home cool with an air conditioner is one of the best things you can do to prevent heat related illness and to promote healthy sleeping patterns for your child. If you take precautions to make sure that your home is kept at the right temperature and make sure your air conditioners is cleaned and ready for your new arrival, you should not have to worry about how your HVAC system affects your child's health.
If you'd like help with servicing of cleaning your unit, contact a local HVAC company like Shivani Refrigeration & Air Conditioning.