Author Topic: Keeping small children warm in a cold house  (Read 5081 times)

shelivesthedream

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Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« on: August 15, 2020, 05:23:39 AM »
We need to spend less money right now, and with winter on the horizon we're contemplating how low it's reasonable for our thermostat to go with a toddler and baby in the house. We have several radiator thermostats, so can somewhat customise heat in different rooms and at different times. We grown ups are willing to suffer in, e.g. an unheated bedroom for as long as possible or an unheated sitting room after the children have gone to bed. However, I am concerned about the children's health and happiness - and especially their comfort at night. I want to sleep, not be woken up by a cold toddler at 3am!

How cold you do keep your house with small children? (Ideally in centigrade, not farenheit!) How do you dress them for that temperature? What do they wear at night, in terms of both clothes and covers? (ToddlerSLTD is still in a sleeping bag in a cot, but an upgrade to a bed is on the horizon.) How do you monitor them to make sure they are warm enough?

We'd like to experiment to find a reasonable compromise here but I'm not sure what to expect.

ToTheMoon

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2020, 06:34:42 AM »
I think the recommended sleep temp for young kids is 18-21 degrees C.  Baby in a sleep sack, toddler in light jammies with a mid-weight (Ikea) duvet on their bed (once they were in a regular bed of course.)  We found that if the room was on the cool side, everyone slept better. The kids would stay tucked in, instead of throwing off their blankets and then being chilled later in the night.  Babies hands would always feel cold, but if we reached in and checked their chest/back they were always toasty warm.

If the rest of the house is going to be cooler, could you find a thermometer that you can place in just their room to monitor the temp in there? I think there are a million on the market now! (My kids are 8 & 10 now - just for a reference point, and in case the recommendations have changed in the last 10 years!)

Papa bear

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2020, 06:40:53 AM »
In the US cold areas, typically the lowest you want to go is 55F, or around 13C.  Any lower and you have an increased risk of frozen pipes and house finishes that can’t handle the cold. 

So. Go off that and make sure your kids wear appropriate clothes.


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former player

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2020, 06:58:03 AM »
From the "back in my day" part of the conversation.  My childhood bedroom had no heating and there was occasionally frost on the inside of the window.  And yet here I am.

Children have grown up for hundreds of years without heating in the bedroom.  If the bed is warm to get into (electric blanket, hot water bottle, warming pan, etc.) and has warm enough bed clothes on it any member of your family will sleep comfortably and warmly.  The problem is that it's cold getting out of bed and getting dressed, but that could be solved either by heating the bedroom for half an hour in the morning or everyone getting dressed in a warmer room such as a bathroom.

TLDR: heat the bed not the bedroom for maximum efficiency and the children will survive just fine.

Blue Skies

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2020, 07:26:06 AM »
When we had babies we kept the house at 18C overnight.  I could barely stand it.  I like it cold when I sleep (in winter, I'm not big on lots of air conditioning).  Once they were around 1 year old and could have blankets rather than sleep sacks I would go back to 15-16C overnight, which is where we have generally kept it. 
I believe my (now somewhat older) children would be fine with 13-14C overnight, but I don't like it that cold when I wake up, and when it gets that cold overnight then the furnace auto-heating the house in the morning wakes me up (I get really hot).

chemistk

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2020, 07:59:47 AM »
In the winter we keep our house at 62F/16.7C.

My wife prefers to sleep in as cold a room as possible and has, in the past, opened the window in the winter. We also use cheap box fans for air circulation and noise.

Our oldest two are in normal beds - our oldest has been in a normal bed since 18 months and our middle since 18 or so months (yes, I know that's young!). They have fleece PJ's and have a sheet, comforter, and extra blanket on their beds.

Our infant was in a sleep sack until about 2 months ago (he's 9.5mos) and now he's just under a blanket in his crib (SIDS is not a worry, he's a belly sleeper and can take multiple layers off himself at night). This winter he will just be under a blanket with winter PJ's.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2020, 11:08:24 AM »
So. Go off that and make sure your kids wear appropriate clothes.
/quote]

Right, but what ARE appropriate clothes for, say a 16 degree house, either in daytime or nighttime?

I think the recommended sleep temp for young kids is 18-21 degrees C. 

If the rest of the house is going to be cooler, could you find a thermometer that you can place in just their room to monitor the temp in there? I think there are a million on the market now! (My kids are 8 & 10 now - just for a reference point, and in case the recommendations have changed in the last 10 years!)

Right, but we're looking at going lower than that. Our baby monitors have thermometers on them that show on the display. Clearly kids have survived and thrived lower than that, and in our recent heatwaves they've been sleeping in 33 degrees.

catlady

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2020, 11:56:58 AM »
Heyyy :) I'm no expert but I would recommend wool (a woven vest) It is a breathable material and it will reduce sweating and also keeps babe really warm. My SO's mother knitted one for our son and he loved it.
We tend to put layers when we dress him rather than put one huge peace because it gives you the option to adjust it really fast. When they run they get hotter  and you can remove the vest etc...

I check periodically if his hands and nose are cold. Touch his back to check if he is sweaty.

Sleep sac 2.5 tog with cotton pyjama worked for us with 18°C.  If babe is still moving like crazy you might want to keep the sleep sac as much as you can.

« Last Edit: August 15, 2020, 12:04:00 PM by catlady »

Papa bear

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2020, 03:56:22 PM »
My toddlers also tell me when they’re cold.  They don’t always listen to what I tell them to wear, but they are little people.  They know it’s uncomfortable to be cold.


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gaja

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2020, 04:29:28 PM »
Official Norwegian recommendations are 18-21C for younger than 6 months, and 14-16C for everyone else. But daytime naps can be much lower - it is common here to let them sleep outside all winter, but the official recommendations is to move them indoors if it is colder than -10C.

Hands and nose are not good measuring points for well dressed kids in cold weather. It is better to feel their lower necks and tummies. Most parents have a tendency to put too much clothes and heavy blankets on their kids, causing them to overheat.

GuitarStv

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2020, 07:52:11 PM »
We've dropped the temperature in the house down to around 15C at night since our son was one year old and he had no problems or complaints.  We all sleep under heavy blankets in the winter quite comfortably.  Heat in the summer was always a problem with sleep, but cool temperatures never have been - they actually seemed to help a bit.

ysette9

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2020, 09:13:13 PM »
In some ways it will depend on your kid. Our oldest didn’t have heat in her room initially when she was little because we rented a crappy house with a single wall heater that only heated half the house. She was skinny and had a tendency to be cold, so even in a onesie, fleece pyjama, and two sleep sacks she was cold. The room probably got down to ~15C at night. We had to put a space heater in her room until she was old enough to stay under a down comforter because she just couldn’t stay warm enough.

Contrast to my second who has always been a fluffy meatball and runs hot. She can’t wear any of the fleece footed pyjamas we had saved from her older sister because she overheats and wakes up screaming, bathed in sweat. It is a fun challenge to figure out how to have them sleep in the same room. :)

waltworks

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2020, 12:03:05 AM »
Your kids can tolerate anything you can, in terms of health/safety, basically. For infants you probably don't want to push it, but if you're even asking this question, your house is probably way warmer than it needs to be.

Our kids sleep much worse if the house is above about 55F/13C, as do the adults. In the daytime we "crank" the heat to 60F/15.5C in the winter, though I'll often turn it back down if I'm alone working.

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shelivesthedream

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2020, 01:22:13 AM »
Sigh. I start to feel chilled to the bone below 17C, even what I think is decently dressed (long socks, vest, big jumper, leg warmers...) Thanks for the votes of confidence, though - I guess we'll just experiment and see what everyone can handle. Both children seem to run hot during the day but cold at night. It's 20-22CC in BabySLTD's room at the moment and she's in cotton pyjamas and a 1 tog sleeping bag because otherwise she feels cold on her chest and back in the middle of the night. I tend to be the opposite, though - overheating at night and frozen during the day!

daverobev

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2020, 07:59:24 AM »
Remember the UK is damp, so you can feel colder than in dry cold. You don't want moisture buildup either as you'll end up with damp.

Honestly living in Canada opened my eyes to the beauty of a dehumidifier. Especially for the UK - not only pulls moisture out, but puts out heat too! Noisy, though.

Decent onesie, blanket. House at 15 degrees C, little oil-filled radiator to take the edge off in their room if needed (last year B&M had loads of them on sale - I got a 500W one for I think a fiver...).

Laura33

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2020, 01:08:46 PM »
FWIW:  I was a kid during the oil crisis of the '70s, and we had oil heat.  As a result, we always kept the house at 50-55F during the winter (sometimes lower, as my mom refused to turn the heat on at all until November 1, and then would hang on as long as possible without turning it on until we flat-out pitched a fit over the cold). 

Most kids are furnaces and will adjust just fine -- I used to run around the house in short sleeves while my mom was cold with a sweater on.  Get them a nice, fluffy, warm duvet cover, and they'll be fine, really. 

(I should note that karma's a bitch:  now I'm the one freezing when DH wants to sleep with the window open all winter)

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2020, 01:31:23 PM »
Remember the UK is damp, so you can feel colder than in dry cold. You don't want moisture buildup either as you'll end up with damp.

Honestly living in Canada opened my eyes to the beauty of a dehumidifier. Especially for the UK - not only pulls moisture out, but puts out heat too! Noisy, though.

Decent onesie, blanket. House at 15 degrees C, little oil-filled radiator to take the edge off in their room if needed (last year B&M had loads of them on sale - I got a 500W one for I think a fiver...).
The eastern side of Britain is actually pretty dry, it's only the western side that can be called damp.  And building regulations require windows that open in any bedroom and if you air the bedroom out every morning (even when it's cold, just for 5 minutes) damp won't be a problem.  Unless you live in a house built before cavity walls were a thing, in which case the house was always intended to be heated and a dehumidifier is useful if there isn't going to be enough heat.

daverobev

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2020, 04:00:28 AM »
Remember the UK is damp, so you can feel colder than in dry cold. You don't want moisture buildup either as you'll end up with damp.

Honestly living in Canada opened my eyes to the beauty of a dehumidifier. Especially for the UK - not only pulls moisture out, but puts out heat too! Noisy, though.

Decent onesie, blanket. House at 15 degrees C, little oil-filled radiator to take the edge off in their room if needed (last year B&M had loads of them on sale - I got a 500W one for I think a fiver...).
The eastern side of Britain is actually pretty dry, it's only the western side that can be called damp.  And building regulations require windows that open in any bedroom and if you air the bedroom out every morning (even when it's cold, just for 5 minutes) damp won't be a problem.  Unless you live in a house built before cavity walls were a thing, in which case the house was always intended to be heated and a dehumidifier is useful if there isn't going to be enough heat.

I grew up in the driest part of England (least rainfall I believe), and it was still pretty damp! Maybe sea air, so it was humid? Not sure.

I just mean really vs people in the US where it gets cold enough that it really is *dry* in the winter. It's different at +5 or whatever if, yes, you don't open the windows. Absolutely vital to air out, you're right.

Chris Pascale

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2020, 10:39:29 PM »
I bought my home in 2014 and it was the first time I was paying for heating oil. When it ran out, it caught me by surprise.

We gave each kid an extra blanket, went to Target for space heaters and fleece bathrobes, and showered at the YMCA after a swim. We went from being sock-less in shorts to everyone having a housecoat. Tea was frequently on the stove.

Wednesday, we got the oil delivered, turned the thermostats to 60 during the day, and continued with the space heaters, turning up the thermostat to 64 at night.

We probably saved $2,000 a year.

bogart

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2020, 04:50:39 PM »
Hunh.  We kept our house at 20 DS's first year, as I didn't like getting out of bed and dealing with nursing and changing diapers when it was colder than that, but apparently we keep it at ~11 overnight otherwise.  I mean, I knew we kept it @ 52 F but hadn't done the math to convert to C.

In fairness, we don't actually keep it that cold, we just let it get that cold.  It usually doesn't where we live, unless things are really frigid out.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2020, 04:41:28 AM »
Surely it makes a difference depending on the age of the child? I mean, given that we do now have central heating and therefore have more of a choice than in ye olden days. I'm interested to hear how old your children are, @Chris Pascale and others. Ours don't have the wherewithal to get themselves more blankets if they are cold, so they'd have to wake up and cry til we came and realised what was wrong. (A very difficult task in the middle of the night!)

waltworks

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2020, 09:07:25 AM »
We have an 1 year old, 6 year old, and 8 year old, but we've kept the house quite cold since even the oldest was a baby. You just put more clothes on them.

It seems like you want a different answer than you're getting, but the reality is that kids don't need the house kept super warm, full stop. If you want to keep the house really warm for your sake, great. It's your life and your money. Just own it and don't blame your kids! :)

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starbuck

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2020, 11:21:11 AM »
Two years ago we lost power for a few days during a winter snowstorm. The house got down to 55F (12.7C) and my 2 year old was completely unfazed. He slept like a dream. During the day we had him in a sweatshirt and warm pants and slippers/socks/whatever he would keep on his feet, and just under his normal winter weight blanket in his bed, and I don't even think he noticed. On the other hand, I was the one who was miserable and losing it over the cold during the day.

He is now 4 and is still a furnace. His petite sister (2 years old) is also a furnace. During the infant stage, we used fleece sleep sacks/swaddles, layered over fleece zip up pajamas. Everyone in our house sleeps better in the cold, and we keep our house at 60F (15.5C) at night, no matter the age of the kid.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2020, 11:47:22 AM »
It seems like you want a different answer than you're getting, but the reality is that kids don't need the house kept super warm, full stop. If you want to keep the house really warm for your sake, great. It's your life and your money. Just own it and don't blame your kids! :)

It's not that I want a different answer - just a fuller one. There's a big difference in my mind between dealing with a cold eight year old and a cold one year old - so I'm glad to hear people do the latter with no problems! I think we probably need to get them some bedsocks and maybe some warmer fleece pyjamas (we just have cotton ones right now) but otherwise I think we'll just leave the heating off until we see problems. I'll try to remember to come back to report in a few months time :)

waltworks

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2020, 12:18:23 PM »
Kids bodies *have* to be able to make lots of heat, because their ratio of mass to surface area ratio is way low compared to an adult.  So they have brown fat and fast metabolisms, and can generate body heat like nobody's business.

I did something like 800k of nordic skiing with our infant last winter in temps down to -5C or so, often with wind chill as well. In her snowsuit inside our ski trailer (thin plastic/fabric walls), she got hot - not dangerously hot, mind you, but certainly not cold at all. I often opened the side vents to keep her from overheating.

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SimpleCycle

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2020, 01:13:35 PM »
The heat in our last house was not great, so DD's room was often around 15C.  We had her in fleece pajamas and a fleece sleep sack and she never seemed to be cold.  She also didn't sleep ever, but don't think the cold was a problem.  This was from when she was six months to four.

sparkytheop

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2020, 01:48:20 PM »
How hot does your area get?  The only downside I really see to a colder house in winter (as long as it's warm enough not to risk freezing pipes and things), is that heat in the summer is going to be a lot harder to handle, and it can be harder to stay cool than stay warm.

I live where temps can be (converting to C...) -22C in winter, to 47C in summer (-8-ish to 117ish°F).  I've gotten used to a cooler house in the winter, but "I don't do heat" ever since I was little (I'd faint a lot if I was outside, now I've learned to see the signs and sit down to avoid fainting).  That's made summers even harder for me the last couple years. 

Without those extremes, you're probably fine having the house chilly.  When my son was little, the guideline for being out in the weather was "add one more layer than you wear as an adult".  People tended to way overdress the babies when it was cold, thinking they couldn't handle it.  So, if you're home, they can wear pjs, sweats, socks, etc.  Pretty much what the adults wear, with a onesie underneath for the tiny folk.

Cranky

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2020, 02:10:14 PM »
I wouldn’t keep the house terrible cold for a tiny baby, but a 1yo will probably deal with the cold better than I will.

Layers - a onesie, a fleece sleeper, a sleep sack.

gaja

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2020, 03:40:10 PM »
I always dressed mine in wool rather than synthetic fleece. It kept them warm even if they sweated, and in my experience it is easier to regulate temperature in wool than in fleece. For years, my kids slept on sheepskins; long fleece in winter time and short in summer time (where we lived, summers were not very hot). They still have the sheepskins, and I sometimes find them cuddled up on them even though they are tough teenagers now. We don't use blankets, but duvets. But on the really cold days, there is nothing that beats a thick woolen blanket under and over the duvet. Knitted woolen blankets are best, but are far too labour intensive to make for adults. 

"Ull er gull" (translated; wool is golden). 

ysette9

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2020, 04:45:40 PM »
How hot does your area get?  The only downside I really see to a colder house in winter (as long as it's warm enough not to risk freezing pipes and things), is that heat in the summer is going to be a lot harder to handle, and it can be harder to stay cool than stay warm.

I live where temps can be (converting to C...) -22C in winter, to 47C in summer (-8-ish to 117ish°F).  I've gotten used to a cooler house in the winter, but "I don't do heat" ever since I was little (I'd faint a lot if I was outside, now I've learned to see the signs and sit down to avoid fainting).  That's made summers even harder for me the last couple years. 

Without those extremes, you're probably fine having the house chilly.  When my son was little, the guideline for being out in the weather was "add one more layer than you wear as an adult".  People tended to way overdress the babies when it was cold, thinking they couldn't handle it.  So, if you're home, they can wear pjs, sweats, socks, etc.  Pretty much what the adults wear, with a onesie underneath for the tiny folk.
Hat’s off to you: that is a spectacularly brutal range of temperatures.

Cold in theory I can handle because there exists gear to keep one warm. As for heat, all I can do is suffer, so I avoid living or visiting hot places.

GuitarStv

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #30 on: August 22, 2020, 05:21:39 PM »
Damned Californians.  "I live in a place where outdoor temperatures range from cool indoor temps to warm indoor temps . . . "

I have weather envy.


:P

waltworks

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #31 on: August 22, 2020, 05:24:50 PM »
How hot does your area get?  The only downside I really see to a colder house in winter (as long as it's warm enough not to risk freezing pipes and things), is that heat in the summer is going to be a lot harder to handle, and it can be harder to stay cool than stay warm.

I live where temps can be (converting to C...) -22C in winter, to 47C in summer (-8-ish to 117ish°F).  I've gotten used to a cooler house in the winter, but "I don't do heat" ever since I was little (I'd faint a lot if I was outside, now I've learned to see the signs and sit down to avoid fainting).  That's made summers even harder for me the last couple years. 

Without those extremes, you're probably fine having the house chilly.  When my son was little, the guideline for being out in the weather was "add one more layer than you wear as an adult".  People tended to way overdress the babies when it was cold, thinking they couldn't handle it.  So, if you're home, they can wear pjs, sweats, socks, etc.  Pretty much what the adults wear, with a onesie underneath for the tiny folk.

Ok, I have to know where you live. That's crazy!

I mean, I live in the high desert in UT, and we get -10C regularly/-20C sometimes in winter, and 35C in the summer on a hot day. But nothing like the range you describe!

-W

sparkytheop

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #32 on: August 23, 2020, 10:05:34 PM »
How hot does your area get?  The only downside I really see to a colder house in winter (as long as it's warm enough not to risk freezing pipes and things), is that heat in the summer is going to be a lot harder to handle, and it can be harder to stay cool than stay warm.

I live where temps can be (converting to C...) -22C in winter, to 47C in summer (-8-ish to 117ish°F).  I've gotten used to a cooler house in the winter, but "I don't do heat" ever since I was little (I'd faint a lot if I was outside, now I've learned to see the signs and sit down to avoid fainting).  That's made summers even harder for me the last couple years. 

Without those extremes, you're probably fine having the house chilly.  When my son was little, the guideline for being out in the weather was "add one more layer than you wear as an adult".  People tended to way overdress the babies when it was cold, thinking they couldn't handle it.  So, if you're home, they can wear pjs, sweats, socks, etc.  Pretty much what the adults wear, with a onesie underneath for the tiny folk.

Ok, I have to know where you live. That's crazy!

I mean, I live in the high desert in UT, and we get -10C regularly/-20C sometimes in winter, and 35C in the summer on a hot day. But nothing like the range you describe!

-W

Believe it or not, the Pacific Northwest.  We aren't all rainy Portland and Seattle!  I'm really looking forward to moving.  The weather range will be close to the same distance, but cold will be colder and the hot will not be as hot.  Summer this year has been a little cooler, I think the hottest day was "only" 114.  Part of the problem is that it doesn't cool down at night (it will be 90 at 1 am) so you can't even get that little bit of a break.  100+ during the day isn't as bad if you can at least get nights to cool down into the 70s.

rothwem

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #33 on: August 24, 2020, 01:41:36 PM »
Maybe I'm just doing it wrong, or maybe I just live somewhere with stupid cheap energy and mild weather, but I've found very little difference in my energy bill between keeping my house an uncomfortable temp and a comfortable one.  I used to be that guy that always set the thermostat at 78F/26C in the summer and 65F/18C in the winter and I freaked out when my wife moved in and put it at 74F/23C year round.  I found that my bill was MAYBE $10-20 more in the two most severe months in the summer and winter?  I didn't notice any difference in the shoulder seasons.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2020, 12:32:19 AM »
Maybe I'm just doing it wrong, or maybe I just live somewhere with stupid cheap energy and mild weather, but I've found very little difference in my energy bill between keeping my house an uncomfortable temp and a comfortable one.  I used to be that guy that always set the thermostat at 78F/26C in the summer and 65F/18C in the winter and I freaked out when my wife moved in and put it at 74F/23C year round.  I found that my bill was MAYBE $10-20 more in the two most severe months in the summer and winter?  I didn't notice any difference in the shoulder seasons.

My energy company gives us a handy dandy graph on their website showing our gas and electricity use by month. We pay £100/month year-round, but I can see that our usage in "heating on" months is double that in "heating off" months.

rothwem

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2020, 06:14:34 AM »
Maybe I'm just doing it wrong, or maybe I just live somewhere with stupid cheap energy and mild weather, but I've found very little difference in my energy bill between keeping my house an uncomfortable temp and a comfortable one.  I used to be that guy that always set the thermostat at 78F/26C in the summer and 65F/18C in the winter and I freaked out when my wife moved in and put it at 74F/23C year round.  I found that my bill was MAYBE $10-20 more in the two most severe months in the summer and winter?  I didn't notice any difference in the shoulder seasons.

My energy company gives us a handy dandy graph on their website showing our gas and electricity use by month. We pay £100/month year-round, but I can see that our usage in "heating on" months is double that in "heating off" months.

How is that even possible? I just looked up the weather in London and it hardly ever gets below freezing in the winter.  Are you running the toaster to get heat in your house? Opening the electric oven maybe?

I think the issue is your efficiency, not your usage in this case. Not that it really matters from a cost perspective, because it sounds like you pay the same regardless, but if you’re worried about the environmental effects, why not look into a more efficient system?

GuitarStv

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #36 on: August 25, 2020, 08:00:54 AM »
Maybe I'm just doing it wrong, or maybe I just live somewhere with stupid cheap energy and mild weather, but I've found very little difference in my energy bill between keeping my house an uncomfortable temp and a comfortable one.  I used to be that guy that always set the thermostat at 78F/26C in the summer and 65F/18C in the winter and I freaked out when my wife moved in and put it at 74F/23C year round.  I found that my bill was MAYBE $10-20 more in the two most severe months in the summer and winter?  I didn't notice any difference in the shoulder seasons.

That's probably because you're in a place like us.  Our heating bill is virtually unchanged by our consumption.  The vast majority of it (90%) is fixed charges, so we can double usage with almost no financial impact.  We still conserve for environmental reasons, but the charging of fixed rates rather than rolling everything into a per quantity used fee should be illegal.  It's a huge disincentive to conservation (which is why the companies selling energy are such fans of the model).

former player

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #37 on: August 25, 2020, 08:26:30 AM »
Maybe I'm just doing it wrong, or maybe I just live somewhere with stupid cheap energy and mild weather, but I've found very little difference in my energy bill between keeping my house an uncomfortable temp and a comfortable one.  I used to be that guy that always set the thermostat at 78F/26C in the summer and 65F/18C in the winter and I freaked out when my wife moved in and put it at 74F/23C year round.  I found that my bill was MAYBE $10-20 more in the two most severe months in the summer and winter?  I didn't notice any difference in the shoulder seasons.

My energy company gives us a handy dandy graph on their website showing our gas and electricity use by month. We pay £100/month year-round, but I can see that our usage in "heating on" months is double that in "heating off" months.

How is that even possible? I just looked up the weather in London and it hardly ever gets below freezing in the winter.  Are you running the toaster to get heat in your house? Opening the electric oven maybe?

I think the issue is your efficiency, not your usage in this case. Not that it really matters from a cost perspective, because it sounds like you pay the same regardless, but if you’re worried about the environmental effects, why not look into a more efficient system?
My heating more than doubles the cost of the months it is off - but I only use 100kwh a month for 7 or 8 months of the year.  The reason for the big difference is not having air conditioning in the summer.

Moonwaves

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #38 on: August 25, 2020, 09:19:30 AM »
How is that even possible? I just looked up the weather in London and it hardly ever gets below freezing in the winter. 
I just had this conversation with some colleagues the other day - it's hard to judge just on temperature.

In Ireland, for example, it doesn't often go below zero but it definitely oftens feels freezing in the winter. A big part of it is the damp air, I think. But similarly, by the time the temperature reaches about 16c (60f), it is pretty much t-shirts and short trousers weather. In Germany, at that temperature I would most likely be still wearing long sleeves outside, possibly even a jacket.

When you add into this the different methods of construction in different countries, there really can be big differences in real life that aren't really there on paper.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #39 on: August 25, 2020, 10:37:50 AM »
Well, in the summer what energy are we even using? We run a Chromebook, boil the kettle (less often than in winter), use the hob, use the oven (less often than in winter) and run the washing machine and dishwasher. That's pretty much it except for very occasional other appliances like the printer or sewing machine. [ETA for total honesty: I've also remembered that of course we have a fridge-freezer, and charge two phones and run two baby monitors year-round.]

In the winter, we need to have lights on (admittedly negligible), use the oven and kettle more, and then heat the house. From my perspective you must be a massive energy hog on other appliances to NOT notice a difference when you turn the heating on!

(We do pay per kwh, it's just averaged across the year to £100/month to make accounting easier. We could pay for what we use month by month but then we'd have to submit more regular meter readings and I CBA to keep on top of that. Smart meter? Well, I'd like one but the waiting list is a mile long. We also rent, so while we can switch supplier we can't just install a different heating system!)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2020, 11:35:01 AM by shelivesthedream »

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #40 on: August 25, 2020, 11:20:10 AM »
We keep the thermostat to 55 (12.7 C) at night and 60 (15.5 C) during the day.  The Thermostat is downstairs and the air duct work for our oil hot air furnance is pretty wonky.  The kids room is generally the warmest room in the house, so probably around 58 F. 

When we had infants we slept them in sleep sacks.  We got a pretty thick one that claimed it was from a nordic country, so felt good about that.  I think it had a temperature rating on it.  Our youngest is now 17 months old and oldest is 4 years.  They wear whatever they want.  Usually footy fleece jams, sometimes they wear excellent Patagonia midweight capilene thermals and wool socks, but this is a pretty consistent outfit no matter the time of day or year.

We are in a cold climate, so they are pretty used to being outside in single digits.  I get a little nervous when temperatures drop below zero F because they aren't so good at keeping their mittens on.  Our middle child wears fleece jams or his thermals at night now and sometimes I can't tell if their diaper leaked or they just produced that much sweat. 

We got a good load of wood this year and I am fantasizing about dropping the oil heat even lower (45 would probably keep the pipes from freezing) and moving the family bed into the living room where the wood stove is.

rothwem

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #41 on: August 25, 2020, 03:06:07 PM »
Well, in the summer what energy are we even using? We run a Chromebook, boil the kettle (less often than in winter), use the hob, use the oven (less often than in winter) and run the washing machine and dishwasher. That's pretty much it except for very occasional other appliances like the printer or sewing machine. [ETA for total honesty: I've also remembered that of course we have a fridge-freezer, and charge two phones and run two baby monitors year-round.]

In the winter, we need to have lights on (admittedly negligible), use the oven and kettle more, and then heat the house. From my perspective you must be a massive energy hog on other appliances to NOT notice a difference when you turn the heating on!

(We do pay per kwh, it's just averaged across the year to £100/month to make accounting easier. We could pay for what we use month by month but then we'd have to submit more regular meter readings and I CBA to keep on top of that. Smart meter? Well, I'd like one but the waiting list is a mile long. We also rent, so while we can switch supplier we can't just install a different heating system!)

I’m not saying that I never use any additional energy in the summer and winter, I’m saying that the difference between uncomfortable and comfortable is much lower than I thought it would be. You’re going to have the heat on some amount in the winter, most people don’t enjoy 5c inside temps. I think that even if you bump the temp waaay down (to say, 13C?) you’re going to be disappointed at the amount of energy you’re still using until you go with a more efficient heat source.

mspym

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #42 on: August 25, 2020, 05:02:54 PM »
Merino wool sleep sacks. Get the sort that fasten over the shoulders like overalls and can be unfastened at the bottom and then the smalls can womble around the house all sleepyhead in the morning until it's feasible to dress them. Also that design lets you change nappies by pulling up the bottom half far enough.

This tip is brought to you from a country that doesn't "believe" in insulation and a city that was built on underground aquifers that turn into giant underground freezers in the winter, just radiating *cold* at you.

ysette9

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #43 on: August 26, 2020, 02:58:56 PM »
Damned Californians.  "I live in a place where outdoor temperatures range from cool indoor temps to warm indoor temps . . . "

I have weather envy.


:P
And that is why it is more expensive to live in the nice parts of ÇA. :)

Kmp2

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #44 on: August 26, 2020, 11:56:48 PM »
We keep our house at 15C in the winter. And I have camped down to 0C with <6 month olds... In the house (at 15C) they have a fleece sleeper, and then a 2.5 tog cotton sack, or a thick fleece sleep sack - we also have a down sleep sack. It's like wearing a comforter vest, but since the velcro is starting to go so we save it for camping at the moment (with socks, onesie, sleeper, fleece coat, and hat.. and socks over their hands!). In the house, meant just a light sleeper was enough to keep them warm.

I have the most trouble with keeping kids warm if it is warm when the go to sleep, but drops 20C by morning... so 23-25C at bedtime... but a low of 0C around 5am.  If the temperature is going to stay fairly constant - with 5-8C, then my kids were very adaptable. If they woke up it was usually for another reason.

My youngest is 2 now, and had no problem last winter with a cold house - in fact they all seem to sleep better. It's that awkward age when they aren't in sleep sacks anymore until they learn to pull up their blankets that seems to be the most trouble

Sanitary Engineer

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2020, 05:34:11 AM »
It was about 10c in the house this morning. Still is.
4 year old slept naked with a polyester comforter. 2 year old slept in clothes no blankets. 1 year old slept in a fleece onesie with a blanket.
I was cold in shorts and a tee shirt under the comforter.
Wool socks and sweatshirts are the norm this morning.
DW says we actually set the thermostat at 65 f last winter. I was comfortable in shorts.

Chris Pascale

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #46 on: August 28, 2020, 02:39:16 PM »
Surely it makes a difference depending on the age of the child? I mean, given that we do now have central heating and therefore have more of a choice than in ye olden days. I'm interested to hear how old your children are, @Chris Pascale and others. Ours don't have the wherewithal to get themselves more blankets if they are cold, so they'd have to wake up and cry til we came and realised what was wrong. (A very difficult task in the middle of the night!)

When this went down they were 3, 5, 9 and 13.

The house was getting chilly so they knew that this was to be warm. Also, the 2 younger ones shared a pull-out captain's bed and may have (I'm not sure) slept together that first evening.

waltworks

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #47 on: August 28, 2020, 10:14:41 PM »
Summary: don't teach your kids to be sissies.

/thread

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shelivesthedream

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #48 on: August 29, 2020, 02:34:59 AM »
Summary: don't teach your kids to be sissies. Person tries to make change, one poster decides to make fun of them for it.

/thread

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FTFY.

waltworks

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Re: Keeping small children warm in a cold house
« Reply #49 on: August 29, 2020, 11:31:24 AM »
Sorry, I wasn't trying to be insulting. You've gotten a very consistent answer here, which is basically, let it get as cold as you want, your kids will be fine.

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