How to Keep Baby Cool in Car Seat With DIY Sunshades
Temperature is rising, and the summer heat brings excitement to those who love the beach and basking under the sun. But, summer may not always be a joy when we see our children bearing the heat when inside the car.
As much as I love summer, I am worried that my baby would suffer a lot from too much heat whenever she is on her car seat. There are days when the sun is too hot, and it heats up the inside of our car. I do not want her to end up overheated and burnt while sitting in her car seat.
Importance of Keeping Your Baby Cool
Our babies need the warmth they can get to protect their bodies from colds and regulate their body’s temperature to a reasonable level. However, too much exposure to the sun can also lead to inevitable consequences.
Overheated bodies can cause physical discomfort on your baby. It can affect their mood and cause them to become irritable and restless. Often, they will constantly cry until their body is at a comfortable level.
Too much exposure to the sun can also cause sunburn and heat stroke. It will be painful for your baby to experience overheat on his skin, which can seep into his body.
Overheating can also risk them of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If your baby has a higher body temperature, his skin becomes red, and he will breathe rapidly than usual. His neck and head will constantly have hot sweats, and sometimes, he will have a body rash.
Take note that your baby becomes overheated quickly than adults. While we may feel hot but not in an uncomfortable level, your child could be suffering twice as much as you feel.
Different Ways to Keep Baby Cool in Car Seat
Pre-cool the car
Before getting into your vehicle, start the engine and turn on the air-conditioning unit. Let it cool the interior for several minutes before putting your baby in the car seat. However, make sure that you are in a safe neighborhood when doing so to avoid anyone getting in and stealing your car. You can do this when you are at home or somewhere safe.
Use an ice seat cooler
Car seat coolers are available to pre-cool your baby’s car seat before putting him in. It is a specialized tool designed to conform to the shape of the car seat. The car seat coolers are placed inside the freezer until frozen just like an ice pack. Then, before the baby is positioned in the car seat, you can install the cooler in to pre-cool the seat for a few minutes.
You can take the car seat cooler with you inside the car to use whenever needed. Put it in an icebox to preserve its frozen state. Otherwise, the ice will quickly melt.
Offer your baby cool water to drink
Refreshing drinks can help regulate the normal body temperature of your child. Have some cool water on hand inside your car, so whenever he feels thirsty and hot, you can give him water to drink.
Dress your child in light clothing
Light clothes can help circulate the air around your baby’s body. It will keep him fresh, especially on long car trips. Choose breathable and cotton clothes that will not fully cover his body. Bring along extra clothes if you need to go somewhere formal or would require to dress up.
Park in shaded area
Choose a good parking space. Even if you need to compromise a bit of walking, it would be better than parking your car nearer and suffering from the heat by the time you get back. Choose parking spaces with trees having wider leaves covering the area. If the place you are going has underground parking, opt to go down.
Use car seat cover
Add another layer of fabric on your car seat to absorb all the heat before getting into the car seat. The car seat cover will serve as a barrier between the seat and the sun. Whenever you leave the car, attach the cover all over your car seat so, by the time you get back, the seat is not too hot for your baby.
Schedule your car trips in the morning or the evening
Choose the right time of the day to travel. The hottest times during the day is from 10 am to 3 pm. These are the times when the sun rays will deeply seep into the car seat. If you need to go outside or take the vehicle, you can choose to go early in the morning, late in the afternoon or in the evening.
Use a Noggle
A Noggle is a customized air duct made out of fabric and colorful designs. Its function is to provide direct ventilation or air to any parts of the vehicle. The Noggle is attached to the car’s vent on one end, and the other end releases cool air.
The primary benefit of using a Noggle is to allow cool air to channel towards your infant, so he is kept cool at all times. It is ideal for vehicles that are not equipped with a back vent.
When using a Noggle, make sure to correctly position it so as not to choke or strangle your child or anyone at the back. Make sure that the pressure of the air is just right to help your baby breathing properly despite being hit by the air conditioning directly and not risk suffocation.
Choose light colored car seats
If you have the chance to redo your car interior, better choose light-colored upholstery. Scientific facts suggest that light colored materials absorb less heat than darker ones. Your car interior may not be too hot if it is in a lighter shade.
If you plan to buy new car seats, also consider light colors for the same reason. The only drawback is the constant cleanup and maintenance since light colors can quickly reflect dirt or stain.
Wipe your baby with evaporative cooling towels
You can find specially design cooling towels that can last its cooling effect much longer than the regular sheets. Evaporative cooling towels are made to retain the moisture and wetness in the towel by reducing the time of evaporation, so the cooling effect stays. You can use it to wipe your baby from time to time when inside the car or place it on his lap or forehead during the ride.
Spray your child with a spraying mist
Use a clean spray bottle, spray your baby’s body with cold water whenever he feels hot inside the car. You can prepare your cold spray by adding ice cubes to the bottle and a little water for starters. The ice cubes will eventually melt if the vehicle is warm inside and it turns into cold water.
When using the spray mist, avoid any contact with the eyes, mouth or nose. You can spray on your baby's hair to cool them off or on his neck, arms and legs. Wipe the water off with a clean, soft towel.
Turn on a battery-operated fan
You can find several battery-operated fans in different sizes and colors. Use it each time your baby feels hot so that the air can make him comfortable. There are fans with a spray mist attached, so the air coming out is cold despite the hot air inside the car.
When using the fan, make sure that it is out of your baby’s reach. The fast turning of the blades can attract your child and encourage him to grab it by the hand. Keep a safe distance between your fan and your baby.
What I Do to Keep My Baby Cool in Her Car Seat
Reflective sunshades! Since one of the main reasons why my baby stays hot on her car seat is the direct exposure to the sun, I would cover my car’s side window with sunshades.
There are two ways to install a sunscreen on your side window. First is to buy a ready-made sunshade and install it on your window. Second is to make your sun visor using different materials.
Making Your Sunshade
Step 1 – Have all materials on hand
You will need windshield cover, fabric tapes, scissors, grommets (if necessary), and suction cups. Depending on the size of your window and the number of windows you want to cover, measure the length and width of your windows and match it to the scale of the windshield cover. You can buy a large windshield cover and cut it into several pieces.
Fabric tapes will be used to fully cover the edges of your cover so make sure you have enough. You can choose tapes with different colors and patterns to make it more attractive to your child.
The number of suction cups will also depend on the number of window sun shades you will make. A small sun shade will need one suction cup while a wider sunshade will need two.
Step 2 – Start cutting and taping
Begin the process by measuring the width and length of your side windows and cut the windshield cover according to its measurement. You may want to create a mark on your covers, so you will know which window they belong.
Then, start by taping fabric tapes all around the corners of your cover. It will seal the cut portion, so it will not get fluffed up. If you do not have fabric tapes, try using other adhesives that will stick on the covers longer.
Step 3 – Attach your suction cups
Some windshield covers already have grommets where you can add the suction cups. If there is none, make a hole in the center of the windshield covers that is just enough to fit the grommets. Attach the grommets in the holes and attach your suction cups.
Make sure that the grommets and suction cups fit perfectly on your windshield cover. Otherwise, it will easily slide off or fall. Start with a small hole and try installing in the grommets. Adjust the size of the hole if necessary.
Installing a Ready-made Sunshade
Step 1 – Choose the type of sunscreen you want for your side window
One type is a mesh sunshade that you can easily slip on your side window and fits perfectly around it. It is fast and easy to install and can be removed anytime. It fits up to a maximum of 44.3 inches by 20 inches of a side window. Another type is a non-slip, cling on sunshade that you can attach to the interior side of the car window.
These types of sun shades have firm cling-on using a Super Static Cling Technology, which eliminates the use of suction cups.
The third type is a sun protector with suction cups. The suction cups are used to attach the mesh sun visors on the window, gripping it tight without leaving any trace.
Step 2 – Position your sunshade on your windows
Adjust the position of your sunshade to fit where you want to cover the window. It will not be a problem with slip on sun shades since these types will fully cover your window.
For suction sun visors and cling on sunshades, you can choose to move it anywhere you want. When using a suction sun visor, identify where you will place the suction cups if you can move it around. Otherwise, mark where the suction cups will be attached, conforming to the position of your sunshade.
Step 3 – Attach the sunshade
For slip on covers, extend the opening of the sunshade and slide it right into the window from top to bottom. Adjust the sides of the sunscreen, so it does not create any bulging areas that will make it look unattractive from the outside. Secure the bottom, so it will not slip right out of your window.
For cling on sunshades, start from the upper corners to the bottom. Attach one edge of the sunscreen first and secure it firmly. Then, slide your hand along the sides to the opposite top corner. Secure the edge tightly and make sure no bulging areas are formed.
Slide both your hands downward to seal the two bottom corners of the sunshade. Make sure no air is trapped inside the sunshade, so it looks smooth.
For sun visors with suction cups, attach the suction cups on the window. Adjust the position of our sun visor if necessary. Make sure that the cups are sucked firmly on the glass.
Safety Tips When Cooling Your Baby in the Car Seat
- Secure your sunshades and other cooling materials. These things can be dislodged, fall off and fly freely when not properly secured during installation.
- Manage the cooling process and do not rely it on your child. For older children, supervise how they will do the processes, so there will be minimal to zero errors done. For instance, make sure that the fans are used correctly to avoid hurting your child.
- Think safety first. Though we want our child to be more comfortable, see to it that it is safe first. Do not loosen the harness while the car is running to allow more movement on your baby. Wait for the car to stop in the right position before loosening or removing the harness.
- Never leave your child unattended when inside the car. Always have an adult companion at the back to watch over your child and ensure his good condition.
It takes a lot of consideration when it comes to cooling our babies inside the car. There may be some options, but you can always choose which ones will best suit your child. Often, you can do two or three ways to maximize the comfort of your baby.
It is important to take note of these steps so we can ensure that our baby remains comfortable when on their car seat. It will prevent any damage on their skin and will keep their bodies in a healthy condition. Remember, too much heat in the body can lead to extreme consequences so better start preparing for a solution.
If you choose to install a sunshade on your side window, choose the best product that you can easily use. To save money, try experimenting on a homemade sunshade.
What other means have you tried to keep your baby cool in his car seat?