Keeping your child COOL in the car seat when it is HOT outside

Posted in: Tips & Tricks

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 especially 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.  If you have other tips, please leave them in a comment to this post.

1. Block the Sun!

Consider getting your windows tinted. Certain types of tints also block UV radiation. Tinted windows are also safer in a crash as the glass is now laminated so it won’t break into a thousand tiny pieces.

accordian style reflective sunshade

Accordian-style reflective sunshade

Reflective sunshades for the front windshield keep the car cooler for everyone!

We do NOT recommend the roller shades that you can buy to put on the side windows – these can fly off and the hard roller can hit the child in the head during a crash. Many of the stick-on shades block the driver’s view out that window… which is a hazard you’ll want to avoid.

2.  Light is better than dark! 

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. 

The same applies to your child’s car seat. Try and avoid car seats with black/navy/dark gray fabrics as these will absorb more heat than lighter colored fabrics.

3. Help your child sweat!

Sweating cools you off as the water evaporates off your skin. You can spray cool water on your child’s hair and skin to help them cool off – because as this water evaporates it will cool them. 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).

4.  Use evaporative cooling towels

Frogg Toggs Cooling Towel

Note: Cooling towels should only be used OVER the child’s harness straps – never underneath

5. 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 – but double check that the child is still getting enough air movement underneath (some sunshades can make it hotter underneath).  

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. However, this sunshade can make it harder to get your child in and out of the car seat.

2-year-old rear-facing using Noggle to stay cool

2yr old rear-facing using Noggle to stay cool

6. Try the Noggle

The Noggle is a fabric covered piece of flexible duct work that diverts air from one of your front vents directly to a child in the rear seat.


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. If you see a child alone in a hot car, call 911 and immediately get the child out of the car if the child seems in any type of distress (break the window farthest from the child). Read what you can do to prevent this from happening to your child:

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