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We have been advised to keep the child's bedroom cool and humid. Are there any specific guidlines on the correct ranges of temperature and humidity?

Currently, we are using a humidifier and have some concerns about possible mold growth.

Also, it is ok to use a conditioner when the outside temperature is hot?

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You should absolutely avoid mold, especially in childrens' sleeping quarters! Some kinds of mold can be literally toxic, and potentially deadly to infants. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Apr 2 '11 at 21:09
    
In addition, exposure to mold can cause your child to develop mold allergies. reference –  Jeffrey Faust Apr 3 '11 at 20:53
    
Yes, mold is bad, however using a humidifier doesn't necessarily lead to mold. We use one throughout the winter here (my son and I both tend toward dry skin in the winter) and have never had an issue. –  HedgeMage Apr 4 '11 at 15:53
    
humid or 'humidified'? Humid would seem odd. But properly humidified...especially in colder climates where the air gets uncomfortably dry makes sense. –  DA01 Jan 3 '12 at 4:00
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6 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The temperature part of this question is tricky, because different children are comfortable with different temperatures, just like adults.

For example, each of our children have been different as far as getting too hot or too cold. We have 18mo twins, and we have to dress our boy more warmly than our daughter. My 3yo sweats considerably during the first part of the night, then he seems to cool off; so he needs to be uncovered at first, then covered. My 5yo will pretty much sleep with any temperature setting. My 15 yo is always warm, so he blasts the fan in his room.

In general, we try to keep our house at 71-72F(22Celcius) at night, and this seems like a good average temperature for everyone.

I'm not sure about humidity. We've never tried humidifiers for the kids, but we live in Houston which has a humid climate. With the high humidity, mold is definitely an issue in Houston in general. So long as you have painted walls in the room you're using the humidifier in, the areas to watch out for mold growth are typically near vent hood covers.

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+1 for pointing out that kids are different. My advice to the OP: see how it goes. If the child is too hot or too cold, change the temperature. If the child is having serious dry skin problems or a recurring dry cough, consider a humidifier. –  HedgeMage Apr 4 '11 at 15:56
    
+1 more. Our baby still sleeps in our room (he's only just now 6 months and we're waiting until after my semester is over to move him into his room) and he sleeps much warmer than my wife, and even a little warmer than me. We set the thermostat at 70 degrees at night. He needs nothing other than his pajamas and a sleep sack. I use our flannel sheet, and my wifes uses the flannel sheet and the comforter. So find an average temp and adjust blanket/pajama warmth to keep everyone happy. –  alesplin Apr 5 '11 at 20:47
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I would say a good room temperature is less than 20 degrees Celcius (68 F), but not below 17C (62.6 F) unless the child has a blanket and does not remove it while sleeping. We do this at home by simply not heating the sleeping rooms in the winter. Summer is a problem, and we don't have air conditioning.

As for humidity we don't monitor it and we have no humidifier, but then perhaps none is needed as long as there is also no air conditioner.

We keep all rooms' doors open at night to make sure the air doesn't get stuffy in any room. That also helps keeping the temperature down, and probably also evens out and reduces the humidity in the sleeping rooms.

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We don't heat our bedroom in the UK at all and leave a window ajar. Our two kids sleep in the same room with us on a separate bed. A cold snap recently when the temperatures outside didn't rise above freezing even during the day encouraged me to make some temporary 'four poster' canopies for our beds and they seem to make a huge difference.

http://blog.lolyco.com/sean/2012/12/31/save-on-winter-heating-with-cheap-diy-four-poster/

I used some temperature sensors towards the end of the cold snap and room temperature fell to about 10°C towards the dawn and only a few degrees warmer under the canopies. I suspect draught reduction and humidity maintenance play a large part in the sensation of comfort at night. In the winter we sleep under thick duvets, which are sufficient for us adults and our older child but our 'little eskimo' sweats in all weathers.

We lived in Malaysia up until a couple of years ago and slept naked under thin sheets in an air-conditioned room with a ceiling fan. We had the thermostat set for 24°C which the 1kW unit would only achieve for a couple of pre-dawn hours. When the ceiling fan failed in the frequent power cuts it just wasn't worth stewing on the bed: we got up and did some light chores. It's definitely a balance between temperature, humidity, draught, clothing and covers.

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The Colder the Better! Ever wonder why hospitals keep the temperature inside so low (it is certainly not because they don't have the money)? If you have ever been in an operating room they keep those rooms several degrees lower than the rest of the hosp. Answer: It reduces the spread of bacteria and infection. So it would just make common sense to keep your house as low as possible or it just becomes a big petri dish. For those people who grew up needing or developed a need for a lot of heat (myself included) it is also environmentally irresponsible to be wanting the inside of our houses to be like the tropics year round. I live in Missouri (extreme cold and extreme heat) and kept my thermostat at 72-74 in winter and 68-70 in summer. We have slowly over past several years lowered/raised those temps by one to two degrees per year. We are now perfectly confortable @ 66-68 in deep winter and at 72-73 in August. So it can be done it just takes commitment. http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/why-operating-rooms-are-so-cold/

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Do you have any sources/support for the "reduce the spread of infection" assertion? I know that one reason colds and flu are more prevalent in winter is because those viruses survive longer on cold surfaces than warm ones. –  Martha Jan 4 '12 at 16:58
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This is really age dependant.

The first year I would try to keep the temperature around 15-18 degrees celcius (70ish Fahrenheit) as a minimum. Add extra blankets/clothing to keep the baby warm.

Where we live the temperature won't rise much over 25C(77F) so whe have to keep some very light clothing on and make sure the baby drinks enough.

In general I just make sure the temperature is a bit higher then what we're having in our sleeping room or I'd make sure the kid is wearing enough clothing not to get cold.

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I advise you to buy a humidity and temperature sensor. They're very cheap and some have alarms to warn you if either goes out of baby comfort range.

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The OP asked what the comfort range is. Measuring it doesn't help if you don't know what it should be. –  HedgeMage Apr 4 '11 at 15:55
    
The model I have automatically gives you the correct range... –  realbot Apr 4 '11 at 16:04
    
"Correct" may vary depending on each person, as Javid points out. Even if there is some "correct" level, it would be good to know what that level is. Since you have one, please check your operating manual and tell us what it says on this topic? –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Apr 4 '11 at 18:15
    
@torbengb: Sure, I'll check it out when I come back home. –  realbot Apr 5 '11 at 7:53
    
@torbengb: Unfortunately I could not find the manual anymore :( Anyway, the product is this one [bit.ly/hhkFGq] –  realbot Apr 5 '11 at 21:50
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