A University of Sydney study finds common strategies used to protect infants from the heat can warm up a stroller by almost 4 degrees Celsius. The researchers recommend new strategies to keep infants cool as temperatures soar.
In line with current advice, the scientists found that covering a stroller with a dry flannel or muslin wrap heated up the stroller by up to 3.7 degrees Celsius. In contrast, combining a damp muslin cloth draped over the stroller with a clip-on fan reduced the temperature within by 4.7 degrees relative to the outside temperature.
Senior researcher on the study Dr. James Smallcombe from the University’s Heat and Health Research Incubator told ABC News the topic was under-researched but extremely important.
“Four degrees can make a really substantial difference, both to the thermal comfort and reducing the risk of overheating during hot weather.”
The study, published in the journal Ergonomics and led by Ph.D. student Fauzan bin Maideen reinforces current advice, but is believed to be the first to research and recommend scientifically-based low cost approaches for keeping infants cool in a stroller while out and about.
Co-author and Director of the Incubator Professor Ollie Jay said the study could help inform updated guidance for families as heat waves become more intense worldwide.
“I think what we’re offering is not just telling people what they shouldn’t be doing, but it’s what they can actively do to reduce how hot the pram [stroller] gets in summer,” Professor Jay of the Faculty of Medicine and Health and Charles Perkins Centre told ABC.
- Avoid covering a stroller with dry materials
- Drape a moist cloth over the stroller to keep the carriage cool (re-wet every 20 minutes)
- Add a clip-on fan to provide even greater cooling
- Regularly check on infants for signs of heat stress
Mohammad Fauzan Bin Maideen et al, Optimal low-cost cooling strategies for infant strollers during hot weather, Ergonomics (2023). DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2023.2172212
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