Hong Kong baby care 101

Mrs Tall and I are now experienced parents, since Baby Tall is now over a year old, and has graduated to the status of 'Toddler Tall'. We've therefore got some advice to pass along to Mr and Mrs B, and other new parents, about 'the right way' to bring up children in Hong Kong.

Although Hong Kong is generally baby-friendly, there's still a lot to learn. To start off, I will introduce you to one essential fact: all Hong Kong babies are cold. In Baby Tall's first five or six months, we rarely ventured from our flat without being told, by relatives, friends, and nosy, self-righteous strangers alike, that we were not dressing her warmly enough.

Keep in mind that Baby Tall was born at the very height of Hong Kong's hellishly hot summer, when the temperature rarely drops below 27 C (80 F). Keep in mind that she had heat rash all over her as a newborn. Keep in mind that she was (and still is, for that matter) a sweaty little thing.

None of this matters! She's cold, and if we fail to acknowledge this, well, we're simply bad irresponsible criminally-negligent parents.

To help other Hong Kong parents avoid charges of trying to flash-freeze their babies, I've worked out the following season-by-season guide to dressing your infant:

Summer: an all-woolen wardrobe is perfect! Outfit Junior in a selection of charming sweaters, mittens, stocking caps and, of course, Lederhosen. Wool is warm, practical, and when sodden with sweat will add comforting bulk to your baby!

Autumn and Spring: these fearsome 'transitional' seasons are fraught with risk. The already brutal cold -- sometimes it's only 20 C! -- can be deepened at any moment by the cruel winds of the northeast monsoon. During these months no Hong Kong baby should venture from her crib unless she's clad in a 12-inch-thick underlayer of fiberglass home insulation. On top of that, she might just be able to survive if she's swaddled in a fully-quilted, water-and-wind-proof parka, and if her stroller is sealed off from the horrors of the open air with plexiglass.

Winter: in this season of Arctic chill (it's never actually dropped below freezing in Hong Kong's recorded history -- but it might!) there can be no compromises. The nosy housewives of Hong Kong speak with one voice: the only safe option is to encapsulate your baby in a climate-controlled hypobaric chamber; a converted deep-sea diving bell would do the trick. It must be heated to not less than 42 C, preferably by a portable nuclear power plant, in case the world runs out of fossil fuels in the next several minutes.

If Mom and Dad take these reasonable precautions, any Hong Kong baby will thrive -- like a hothouse flower!


How true... I'm baby

How true... I'm baby carrying most of the time, so you have to keep in mind that baby and me often share our body heat, but still, she is always under dressed for cantonese people, even when they see her sweating.

But what I sometime find frightening is some parents that clearly over dress their baby. I once saw a newborn in a stroller with a winter cover on her under our summer sun...

For my part, I prefer her to have a cold than a heat stroke, very irresponsible of me!


My husband and I are currently visiting HK from Australia and have our 10-month-old son with us. I think he's the only baby in HK wearing shorts and t-shirts in 'winter'. To us, the weather is very mild at the moment and we're also wearing t-shirts. I find it strange to see people so 'rugged up' when it's 20oC (or warmer!). I actually saw a girl on the train yesterday wearing a woollen hat and mittens!!