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I'm trying to make a cooling device to used in hot areas for cooling down newborns. I'm planning to cool down the mattress to a temperature of 37C, how effective will such a system be to keep the body core temp to 37C? I understand that the baby can not be analysed as a lumped body. Thanks!

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    $\begingroup$ This might be more of a medical question than an engineering one. I’ve heard of NICUs using cooling blankets/mats that circulate chilled water to intentionally lower a newborn’s body temperature. Laying on a body temp object (37C, 98.6F) does not really sound cooling to me. Certainly 37C air temp feels darn hot. $\endgroup$ – CableStay Apr 12 at 15:29
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I've had a waterbed since 1981. It is very effective at both cooling and heating one's body. At 37C, a mattress would make you feel like you're being cooked. At 27C, you'll feel like you're freezing.

I keep mine at around 30C, a little more in winter, a little less in summer, but either way, not much different. The thermostat might not be accurate, so don't rely on those numbers. The important point is that there is a very small Goldilocks zone.

It also helps to have a mattress pad, to provide some insulation to slow down the rate of heat transfer. As I learned when I first got the bed, without it, the temperature has to be very precisely set, and even a slight variation will be noticeable, while anything more will be uncomfortable.

You might start with a comfortable swimming pool temperature and make it a few degrees warmer since heat generation from muscular activity won't be happening.

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Answering just the engineering side of the question, not the medical.

Skin temperature is usually 3 to 6 degrees lower than the body's core, more like 32-33 centigrade, and not uniform over all areas of the body.

A cooled mattress has to be frequently replaced after it warms up, or be connected to a cooling system, like a water bed with cold water circulating in it as CableStay's comment mentions, and has to have a thermometer to stabilise its temperature.

Questions of safety and hygiene and maintenance make the design more involved.

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