With this warm weather we’ve been having in the UK this summer, we’ve been using a little desktop fan in our room at night as it gets pretty hot in our two bedroom flat. However, we used to have a ceiling fan, but it was quite old so we got rid of it just before we had our daughter. My wife and I wanted a new light fixture instead, with a dimmable switch as this would be handy for diaper changes so we wouldn’t rouse our baby too much at night.
However, I do regret getting rid of that ceiling fan a few years ago. I have read that there are some benefits of having one in your baby’s room (other than just to keep your infant cool in the summer). It promotes good airflow and it can even reduce the risk of SIDS. In this article let’s look at whether you should install one in your baby’s nursery.
Is it safe to have a ceiling fan in your baby’s room?
Yes, it’s perfectly safe to use a ceiling fan in your baby’s room. Aside from helping to keep your baby cool by creating some airflow, it’s also out of reach so your baby can’t grab the blades. Also, the sound from a fan can calm your baby and help them sleep. You probably don’t want to put your baby directly underneath the fan though, as the airflow might be a bit too much. If you can’t avoid this, make sure your baby has enough layers on so they won’t get too cold at night.
Should you use one in the winter?
Although I’ve never personally used a fan in the winter, apparently there are some benefits. The main advantage is that it can help warm a room. A fan can circulate warm air around the room, which can be very useful if your baby’s room isn’t particularly warm in the winter months, due to inefficient central heating, or if the radiator is not a very good position to heat the room in the first place. However, a ceiling fan isn’t as good as a pedestal fan for this.
Can a ceiling fan make a baby cold or sick?
It depends. A fan can have different effects on people and that includes babies, but it can certainly make your baby cold if the airflow is too strong. Just use the fan on a low setting and make sure your baby has enough layers on if you’re concerned about it.
What is the right room temperature for your baby’s nursery?
You never want your baby’s room to be too hot or cold, but just the right temperature (around 16-20 degrees Celsius (60-68 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure you use a good thermometer and position it in your baby’s room in a good location i.e. not near an open window or AC vent.
Related Post: Are Baby Monitor Temperatures Accurate?
What are the pros and cons of installing a ceiling fan in your baby’s room?
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of putting a ceiling fan in your baby’s nursery.
- It reduces the risk of SIDS
According to a study by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, using a fan during sleep was associated with a 72% reduction in the risk of SIDS in infants. Furthermore, the reduction was greater when used in warmer room temperatures compared to cooler ones. Babies have a hard time regulating their own body temperature, and they can get hot and cold very easily, so you can see how a fan can help with this.
- Noise from a fan can help your baby sleep
Using white noise is a common strategy to help babies sleep through the night. To be honest, I’ve only used it a few times over the years with both my children but it did help. We live in London so there is always the sound of cars at night and in the early morning which can disrupt sleep. The sound of a fan can have a similar effect as a white noise machine. It produces a low hum sound, as well as sounds at other frequencies which can block out the sound of cars, or neighbours getting up early for work.
- Babies can’t reach ceiling fans
This is a big plus from a safety perspective. As parents we’re often warned about hazards for our babies and the need to babyproof our homes. Unfortunately, a simple desktop fan can pose a significant risk to your infant. Firstly, if they can reach the fan, it could fall and land on them. Also, they could get tangled up with the cord and choke or even chew on it and get an electric shock if there are any exposed wires.
With a ceiling fan, you can relax, as it is out of harm’s way. You only need to think about it if you’re planning on buying or bunk bed when your children are older. Aim to keep the top bunk at least 2 metres away from a ceiling fan.
- Window can stay open when using a ceiling fan
Compared to using an air conditioning unit, where you need to keep the windows closed so the machine can operate effectively to set the right room temperature, with a ceiling fan you don’t need to worry. You can keep the windows open which can help to circulate fresh air around your baby’s room.
- They take up a lot of space
When you’re planning the layout of your baby’s room, you need to factor in the size of the ceiling fan. If the room is fairly small, you don’t want wardrobes or closets to be too close to the blades of the fan.
- It can mess with the lighting in your baby’s room
We had this issue with our old ceiling fan which was why we got rid of it. It came with a light which wasn’t dimmable and we really wanted this feature for diaper changes at night. If you’re thinking of installing a ceiling fan, make sure you check the light that comes with it. It may even come with a remote to turn the light and fan on and off (which you can easily misplace when you’re distracted by a baby!)
- Dry your baby’s eyes and skin
A fan can make the air drier in a room, which means it can dry out your baby’s eyes and skin. If you notice cracks in their skin or signs of dryness, it could be because of the fan so you will need to moisturize their skin more, or abandon the idea of using a ceiling fan altogether.
- Tricky to get the right room temperature with just a ceiling fan
Another disadvantage of using a ceiling fan is that it can’t make the room an ideal temperature for your baby. Although it can make the room cooler slightly, by generating some airflow in the room, don’t forget the room temperature will always drop at night. So if you have a fan whirring away into the early hours of the morning, the room could become too cold for your baby.
Is it better to use AC or a fan in your baby’s room?
It depends on a number of factors and what you really want in your baby’s room. The advantage of using an air conditioner is that you can set the room temperature to whatever you want, which is so useful in the summer if you’re experiencing a period of hot weather and it’s particularly stifling outside and uncomfortable in your home. You can also set a timer with an AC unit so you can program it to turn off when you like, which means you won’t disturb your baby if they’re fast asleep. However, using an air conditioner is expensive, and it consumes a lot of power, so you’ll notice your energy bills going up if you use one regularly. Using a ceiling fan is cheaper, and the noise from a fan can help soothe your baby to sleep. However, it won’t cool a room down like an AC unit does.
How do you install a ceiling fan?
Here’s a short video on how to install a ceiling fan. While you can do it yourself, it looks quite fiddly, so you might want to ask an electrician to do it for you.
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.