Dressing your child during summer in cool clothing and using appropriate bedding is all part of keeping your child safe from overheating. Merino wool is natural and breathable, and research shows its moisture wicking features make it perfect for baby clothing and bedding, helping keep baby cool. When choosing wool clothing, there are 4 things to look for to help you decide on the coolest of merino wool garments.
Why do babies and children get hotter than adults?
Babies and children can feel clammy, and become irritable through lack of sleep during the hotter temperatures in summer. Not able to sweat as much as adults, their ability to cool down is reduced. When exercising, they generate more heat than adults, which is why children often look hot and flushed even during light exercise.
Parents and carers show extra vigilance over summer, keeping a close eye on their baby's and young children's water intake and clothing. A baby's body temperature is normal at 36.5 degrees to 38 degrees Celsius.
In considering baby's temperature, also take into account the room temperature, baby's general health, any breeze, the fibre composition of the clothing baby is dressed in and if it’s a loose or tight fit, what baby is lying in, on or under, and whether baby is relaxed or agitated.
A quick method of checking baby's temperature often used by parents and carers is to place your hand around the back of baby’s neck to feel whether baby is clammy, which is an indicator that baby might be too warm, and to remove a layer of clothing.
Sleeping on wool to keep cool
Many parents like using a plastic mattress cover to protect the cot or crib mattress from nappy leaks, but the plastic cover causes baby to feel clammy and uncomfortable, because moisture vapour cannot escape, and builds up next to baby's skin.
To address this problem, using a machine washable wool underlay and a fitted cotton sheet over the top of the mattress protector creates a breathable layer for baby to lie on. This breathable layer helps move moisture away from baby’s skin, resulting in baby feeling less clammy, more comfortable, and more likely to sleep better. Even better, some underlays absorb leakages, doing away with the need for a plastic mattress protector.
Dressing baby in lightweight wool clothing
Choosing cool clothing in summer is important and textile innovation now means the availability of lightweight, breathable and soft wools. Merino wool activewear fabric is particularly breathable, soft and lightweight, and scientific research supports using this fabric when exercising to keep cool, making merino activewear fabrics perfect for using also in baby clothing.
Our "cool mesh" fabric (right) ticks these boxes, made from 100% merino wool, soft to touch, in a breathable beehive knit.
Wool is cooler to touch than synthetic wear
Research shows that in warm environments, wool fabric is up to twice as cool to touch compared to synthetic fabrics like polyester. Wool has a unique ability to conduct heat away from the skin, making merino wool a preferable option to use to keep your baby cooler in summer. At Merineo we don't use synthetic fibres in our merino wool baby sleeping bags and kids clothing. We're all wool!
The reason wool is cool to wear in warmer temperatures is its ability to move moisture vapour away from the skin, forcing it to evaporate into the air. Wool fabrics can move 25% more moisture away from the skin compared to polyester fabrics, equivalent to a temperature drop of up to four degrees Celsius.
This feature is commonly described as “moisture wicking”, and in moving the clamminess away from baby’s skin, it helps keep baby comfortable, safe and happy, particularly during the hot weather.
The top 4 things to remember when choosing the right wool to keep baby cool
So, now you understand why Merino wool is able to keep your baby cool in summer, but the tricky part is knowing which Merino wool products to buy. It's easy if you follow these 4 tips!
- Consider the composition of the fabric – 100% merino wool carries the full benefit of wearing or sleeping on wool.
- Looser clothing is recommended, rather than a tight fit.
- Consider the construction of the fabric – a looser weave or knit means the fabric will be more breathable.
- Consider the weight of the fabric - lighter weight fabrics are more suitable in summer.
In following these tips, choosing cool wool for your child to wear or sleep in, on or under during summer will be easier. If buying online, you can always contact the seller and ask these questions.
Merino wool is cool!
Keeping baby cool in summer is easier with lightweight Merino wool clothing and a wool underlay for baby to sleep on. Merino is a natural, breathable fibre, and with its moisture wicking ability, it's perfect for summer clothing and bedding for your child. To learn more, watch this short video by Woolmark: Merino - The Baby Wool