With temperatures reaching 100 degrees in many parts of the US now, many parents are asking “How do I keep my child cool in the car seat while we are driving? I’m really concerned about my rear-facing child.” Besides the obvious of using the air conditioning in the car (or rolling down the windows if there is no a/c), here are 6 tips to keep your child cool.
1. Keep the car cooler for everyone: Accordian-style reflective sunshade
- Get a reflective sunshade for the front AND rear windshields so that while you are parked the car doesn’t get as hot
- Consider getting your vehicle’s windows tinted – certain types also block UV radiation
2. If you are buying a new car seat or a new car, pick a light color for the fabric/interior. The color of your car’s interior can have a huge impact on how hot your car gets. This chart below, courtesy of Safe Kids, shows how on a 79 degree day, the vehicle with a light colored interior will stay much cooler than one with a dark colored interior.
3. Try cooling the child’s car seat ahead of time (or while you are in the store doing your shopping) with one of these car seat covers. NOTE: these are NOT meant to be used when the child is in the seat
4. Help your child sweat! Sweating works by cooling you off as the water evaporates off your skin. Using cool water, wet your child’s hair & exposed skin (and you may even want to wet their shirt somewhat) before putting them in the car seat to help them stay cool in the car. If you will be going into an air-conditioned space at the end of the car ride, you will want to avoid getting the child’s clothes wet as they may become too cold in the air conditioning. Toddlers and older children might enjoy holding a spray bottle filled with water that they can use during the car ride to keep cool. Older kids might like the spray bottles that have fans attached (make sure the child is old enough and trustworthy enough that they won’t try to chew on the fan blades – even though they are soft, they could be a choking hazard).
5. Keep them cool throughout the car ride with these cooling towels & bandanas Frogg Toggs Cooling Towel Note: Cooling towels should only be used OVER the child’s harness straps – never underneath
6. Use a car seat sunshade Protect-A-Bub car seat sunshade If you are using an infant carrier, keep the sunshade up while in the car to block some of the sun coming in from the side windows. For older kids in convertible & combination seats, this Protect-A-Bub car seat sunshade is rated UPF 50+ and will block a lot of the bright sun coming in from the side windows (and for forward facing kids, from the back window too). It is very soft and flexible – so you don’t have to worry about any hard/sharp parts hurting your child in the event of a crash. Note: many parents use the roller sun shades that go on the vehicle’s side windows – but these are not recommended as the shade is likely to fly off in a crash, and the hard roller part could seriously injure your child if it hit the child’s head. Also, anything that is on the window of your car should be transparent enough that you can see through it – if it blocks the driver’s visibility, this is NOT safe.
NEVER LEAVE A CHILD OR ANIMAL ALONE IN A CAR… NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE While we are on the topic of hot cars, please remember to NEVER, EVER, EVER leave a child or animal alone in a hot car – even for a minute. A car can become an oven in just a few minutes on a warm day. So far nearly 2 dozen children have died in hot cars just this year. Read what you can do to prevent this from happening to your child:
The Car Seat Lady provides accurate, up-to-date information from NHTSA-Certified Child Passenger Safety technicians and instructors about how to keep your most precious cargo safe. We also offer experienced, private car seat installation lessons in the New York City and Baltimore areas. The above article was originally published on their blog in July 2011.