Complete guide to stroller fans
Summer heat doesn’t have to sabotage your routine of walking with stroller. A stroller fan could be what you need to keep baby cool when it’s hot outside.
What is stroller fan
A stroller fan is a small cooling device to produce airflow. You can position it on various spots of the stroller, like the handle, canopy, crossbar, and snack tray. Most stroller fans nowadays run on batteries. This feature renders them popular among the parents who’d like to keep baby cool on walks.
Why do you need a stroller fan
It’s not recommended to walk outside with baby during the hottest hours of the day. But, there are situations where you need to leave the air-conditioned room.
We’ve all been there. Pick up and drop off older children from preschool. Shop for ingredients. Or take a summer vacation.
Sometimes you think it’s suitable to go outside because the temperature is just slightly higher than usual. But do you know it could be uncomfortable for you baby?
“Even though it’s early summer, when I picked my daughter up out of a stroller, the seat was hot and she was sweating profusely on back.”
This is because babies can’t regulate their body temperature effectively like adults (reference).
What’s more, the air inside a stroller is actually hotter than you think.
According to the research from a stroller company, the temperature of 50cm above the ground, which is the height of a stroller, is higher than the 120cm.
In general, the temperature rises as it gets closer to the ground due to solar radiation.
Although the stroller is shaded from direct sunlight, hot air and humidity will get trapped easily. Strollers tend to feel stuffy and unpleasantly humid.
Babies might be at increased risk of heatstroke (reference) and dehydration (reference). Because their sweat glands are undeveloped and they cannot complain of thirst and overheating.
“It’s the first summer after giving birth, so I’m still not sure what to do. My daughter doesn’t say anything…”
Another mother said she was surprised by the heat of the stroller seat when she went out with her 3 month old boy.
“It was a front-facing stroller, I can’t see the baby’s face. I need to go forward, again and again, to check up on how he’s doing.”
Are stroller fans safe for babies
When it comes to stroller fans, there’s really nothing to worry about.
Stroller fans are built with a strong clamp that opens wide enough and clips firmly. An inside rubber pad provides some extra friction to prevent it from slipping around.
They also have a plastic cage to protect those little tiny fingers.
Types of stroller fans
At the first sight of the search page, you may find it difficult to choose a stroller fan because most of them look identical. We’ve gathered the most popular types of stroller fans for you and help you make an informed decision.
Clip on stroller fans
Clip on fans fit almost every spot of the stroller. You can place it on the handle, snack tray, canopy, bumper bar, and sidebar. The sturdy clamp can handle bumpy roads and terrain, remaining in the same place.
Stroller fans with bendable legs
In recent years, octopus-like fans have become an alternative for jogging stroller owners. Its legs latch tightly on the handlebar when you run with the stroller. You’re not going to worry about a potential fall-off that might injure your little one.
Misting stroller fans
With a built-in mister, it creates a nice cooling sensation when the liquid evaporates. Misting stroller fans won’t soak your baby’s face. It’s just a light stream of mist coming out. Your child will feel the moisture gathering a little, which is pretty comfortable.
Handheld fan with clamp
Some handheld battery fans come with a removable clamp. If you don’t want to clip it on the stroller, just detach the clip and hold it by hand. Most of them are foldable. With the compact size, they can fit in your purse perfectly.
Stroller fans with foam blades
The blades of stroller fan are made of soft foam. Curious kiddies won’t hurt their fingers if they touch the rotating blades. The only drawback is this fan cannot push a powerful airflow, being less effective to keep baby cool.
How to choose the best stroller fan
You need to consider a few things before buying a stroller fan.
Where do you intend to use it?
What features can fulfill your needs?
What type of stroller do you use?
Whether the environment condition is dry or humid.
#1 Design Safety
Stroller fans with a shield can prevent the curious fingers from entering.
But you might notice some fans are available with sponge blades and no casing.
Although the blade materials are safe, children could grab and tear the blades off.
Just to be on the safe side, keep the fan out of the children’s reach.
A sturdy clip can keep the fan in place while in use. If you are run with a stroller from time to time, a tripod fan with bendable legs would grab tightly on the surface. There’s no risk of releasing its grip and injuring the kids.
The speed should be adjustable to keep the baby cool while at a safe temperature. Children, especially newborns, can lose body heat faster than adults.
#2 Adjustable speed
Being able to adjust the fan speed based on temperature and the baby is a bonus.
Stroller fans have 3 to 4 speed settings, controlled by a button or knob.
You can switch to the highest setting when it is sweltering hot. When your baby is sleeping, run the fan on low to keep it as quiet as possible.
Top speed consumes more battery energy than the lower speed. For a 4400mah fan, the runtime differs anywhere from 4hours to 40hours, depending on the speed settings.
#3 Rotation and oscillation
Child doesn’t sit still. You might need to adjust the angle every time your kid moves or sleeps in various positions.
A stroller fan with the turning capability allows you to point the airflow where you need.
Somes fans have an oscillation feature. The fan head automatically moves from left to right. The extensive air coverage can also help keep the mosquitoes away.
#4 Clip and grip
The great thing about a stroller fan is its portability.
You want to make sure the clip opens wide enough to fit on the stroller, crib, or any other surface. A strong clamp will stay in place when the stroller hits rough terrain like gravel, grass, cracked sidewalks, or dirt road.
Some stroller fans with flexible bendy legs are a great option if you like to jog with stroller. It provides a firm grip and will not pop off the stroller.
Clip with some rubber padding is another bonus. It protects the stroller handle from scratches and creates extra friction.
#5 Battery life and charging methods
Most stroller fans are battery powered. On average, a single battery can last between 2~4 hours on the highest speed settings. When looking for battery information, keep the intended purpose in mind. If you are a camping guy, a stroller fan with 2 rechargeable batteries will make a great camping fan as well. They can last all day long when running at a slower speed. If you don’t understand the meaning of mah or voltage, check this guide on 18650 battery.
Stroller fans have a standard USB port. You can easily plug it into the computer or an independent power pack if it runs out of battery. Some stroller fans can even function as a power bank. They are able to charge your phone when being outside.
#6 Ease of cleaning
Although stroller fans are low maintenance, they do gather dust and grime. You don’t want the fan to circulate dust and pollen in the air, which increases the risk of baby allergies. Cleaning is quite easy. All you need to do is remove the front cover and wipe the fan blades. After that, make sure to put it back and tighten all the screws. So the toddler cannot open the casing to access the blades.
A lightweight stroller fan is easy to carry and store in your diaper bag. A heavy fan is not an issue if you attach it to the stroller handle. But, if the canopy is where it clips onto, the extra weight could cause the canopy to sag and pull it closer to the baby’s face. You also don’t want it to be a nuisance while maneuvering the stroller over an uneven path.
#8 Noise level
Good quality fans generate little noticeable sounds. Babies usually respond well to white noise. Fan’s soothing hum can get the infant into a sound sleep.
However, some stroller fans are built with poorly made motors, and the fan blades haven’t been firmly attached to the assembly. That’s why they have clicking noise when running at high speed.
If the fan noise exceeds the recommended level for babies, it could cause hearing loss of your child. Make sure to check the decibel level when buying the best stroller fan.
Type of your stroller
It’s important to know what’s the intended place for the stroller fan. Is it for the handle, snack tray, canopy, or bumper bar?
If the only place to position the fan is canopy, an octopus fan with bendy legs cannot be attached to this flat surface. Clip on fans, instead, would be the ideal choice for you because it is universal and clips onto almost anything.
“I don’t have a snack tray or cross-bar on the front of my stroller, so the only place for me to attach it would’ve been the handle, which wouldn’t help my kids much. Then, I came across this much sturdier-looking clip fan which was more versatile than the Octopus fan, and, more importantly, was compatible with my stroller’s design.”
Molly has found this clip fan useful because it is not only compatible with her stroller design, but also works well on the car seat.
Although clip on fans are versatile, they sometimes don’t work that well with a jogging stroller. Bumps and jumps could cause the clamp to move and pop itself off to the ground. When running with a baby stroller, you might want to try those octopus fans with tripod legs which offer a firm grip.
The weather is dry or humid
Electric fans aren’t always best for cooling off.
A study suggests that fans can help people to cool down on hot and humid days.
But when it is hot and dry, fans tend to make you feel uncomfortable.
Relative humidity is the main factor to distinguish dry and humid conditions.
A temperature of 110℉ and relative humidity of 10% will “feel” like 90℉, with relative temperature of 70%
But why does relative humidity make such a difference in human heat stress?
To understand it, you might need to learn how we lose heat.
Assume you are holding a cup of iced tea in summer. The physical contact will transfer heat from your body to the cup. This is what we call conduction, which takes up 2% of the heat dissipation.
The second method, convection, accounts for 10% of the heat loss. When you turn on the electric fans, the airflow will blow the hot air away.
65% of heat loss is from radiation. However, it only happens when your body temperature is higher than the environment. In other words, you are likely to lose heat in winter. But in summer, the environment temperature is higher than your body, which will heat you up like a roasted chicken on a rack holder.
Evaporation is the conversion from water to vapor. Your body loses approximately 85% of heat through sweating. On hot days evaporation plays a primary role in heat dissipation.
Other animals also use evaporation to stay cool. For instance, dogs hang their tongues out to keep cool in summer. Kangaroos constantly lick their forearms. The moisture on their skins evaporates to cool their warm blood.
For human beings, to lose heat through sweat, there are two prerequisites.
If you live in a humid environment, sweat cannot be converted to vapor effectively. They accumulate on your skin.
Sweat will trap heat from the skin, which impinges on the heat loss.
You know it’s going to be unpleasantly hot when your shirt is wet and your back is clammy.
Dry weather feels completely different from humid weather.
A study was conducted to see the influence of air temperature and humidity on human thermal comfort.
Volunteers were first asked to sit in a room with a relative humidity of 10%. The findings suggest that the acceptable temperature is up to 115℉.
However, after increasing the humidity to 70%, 95℉ is the limit they can go.
In the humid tropics, air movement helps your baby stay comfortable. A stroller fan facilitates the process of sweat evaporation from the skin surface.
During summer dry season, electric fans blow the hot airflow into your child and make it even hotter. A misting stroller fan is a preferred method for dry conditions. It optimizes the evaporation effect.
It is worth mentioning that misting stroller fans are not recommended for humid environments. Moisture adds up to the humidity level, which makes it even damp and muggy.
Bottom line. Ordinary stroller fans for the muggy weather. And misting stroller fans for arid places.
Added benefits of stroller fan
Mom and dad can also use it
Do you overheat at night and sleep with your baby in the same room? It might be helpful to direct the airflow at you without disturbing the child. A small wind machine has limited coverage. You can be sure that the baby is at a comfortable temperature and will not become sick.
Keep you both cool while breastfeeding outside
As the temperature rises, breastfeeding can result in a cranky baby, and a hot, sweaty mom.
You use a blanket to cover up when nursing outside which makes it stuffier.
A stroller fan helps release the heat stress and avoid sticky skin-to-skin discomfort.
Cool down the food
Worried if your kid’s food is too hot, and don’t want to wait for chilling?
If you’re looking for a less labor intensive method for cooling down a plate of steaming food, put the stroller fan in front of the prepared plate for a few minutes. Then it’s ready to eat.
Keep the bugs at bay
Mosquitoes can’t fly in the wind that a fan creates. The blowing air can mess up mosquitoes’ flying ability so they will not be able to land on your baby. Using a stroller fan creates a barrier around your little one to protect the delicate skin.
How to use a stroller fan
Using a stroller fan is as simple as clipping it onto the stroller and pushing the button.
Still, there are a few tips to make the experience better.
How to charge a stroller fan
Most stroller fans are operated by rechargeable18650 lithium-ion batteries. To maintain a longer lifespan of the battery, you might want to:
All the ways to use a stroller fan
As a portable cooling device, it’s more than a baby stroller fan. There are more ways of using that you might have never been thinking of.
Where to buy a stroller fan
Have no time to wait for the shipping? Need a stroller fan to keep baby cool right away?
This free store locator tool shows the retail shops near you. You can check the store contact info and hours before driving all the way there.
Prefer to buy online which provides more design options? The below table can help you access your favorite online shopping platforms quickly.
Take baby out for a walk