How do you keep your child--especially a rear-facing child--cool in the car during the summer?

Cool Down the Car and Car Seat

Removable sunshades for the vehicle and car seat: Keep the car cooler for everyone by using a reflective sunshade on the front and rear windows while your car is parked.

You can also get a removable sunshade specifically for the car seat, to keep it cooler, since you can’t block the sun from coming in the vehicle’s side windows. The Britax Car Seat Sun Shield should fit a variety of convertible car seats.

Window Tinting: Consider getting your windows tinted–certain types of tinting also block UV rays!

Removeable Car Seat Cooler: Cool the car seat down while you are not in the car with a removable car seat cooler. Freezable ice packs fit into a cover that you put on top of your child’s car seat. When you remove the cover to put your child in, the car seat is nice and cool. Please note that you CANNOT use these coolers while your child is in the car seat. The freezer packs will be heavy, so be sure to stow them in the trunk or in your house or garage while you’re driving.

Removable Car Seat Cooling Gel Pack: No separate ice packs needed for this product, which you freeze overnight. It sits in the car seat while it’s empty and cools it down. Make sure to remove it before your child sits in their car seat, as it is NOT designed to be used with the child in the seat, only to cool down an unoccupied car seat. Place in the trunk when not in use so it does not become a projectile during driving.

Sunshades for the car seat: If you are using an infant carrier, keep the sunshade up while its in the car to block some of the sun coming in from the side windows.

Unsafe Products:

DO NOT use a roller sunshade on your car windows. These shades are likely to fly off the window in a crash, and the hard roller part could seriously injure your child if it hit their 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, it isn’t safe.

Cool Down your Child

Wet Your Kid: Using cool water, wet your child’s hair & exposed skin (and you may even want to wet their shirt somewhat) before putting him in the car seat. If you’ll be going into an air-conditioned space at the end of the car ride, you’ll want to avoid getting the child’s clothes wet, since they may become too cold in the air conditioning.

Spray bottles and fans: 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).

Cooling towels and bandanas: A few products also exist for use in the car seat. Note that all of these products are for use OVER the car seat harness straps, never under the straps.

Air Conditioning Redirection: A product called the Noggle attaches to the air conditioner vent in the front and pipes the cool air into the back, onto your child. 

Noggle in use

While we’re on the subject of hot weather, remember….

NEVER EVER EVER leave your child or pet alone inside the car, even for a second. A car can become an oven in just a few minutes on a warm day. It doesn’t even have to be *that* hot out for the inside of the car to heat up. If you see a child alone in a hot car, immediately call 911 and immediately get the child out of the car if they seem in the slightest distress (break the window furthest away from the child). See these organizations for much more info on the tragedy of children in hot cars.