People look forward to the summer season for one apparent reason — it allows them to spend more time outdoors. Indeed, this is the perfect time to enjoy the warmth of the sun while having picnics, barbecues, and a whole lot of other activities that just were not possible during winter.
For parents, summer means being out and about with their kids more often. There’s just no better time for children to be outside than when it’s summer. But before you head out the door and tuck your little one in their car seat, there’s something that you need to be certain of.
And that is if your precious passenger is safe and comfy while you are traveling by car.
You see, babies, in particular, are more prone to overheating while inside a vehicle especially during summer. And the worst part is that they can’t tell you when they’re feeling too hot. The risk of babies overheating is so real that on average 37 children die per year from heat stroke.
What to do
The good news is that it doesn’t take rocket science nor expensive accessories to keep your baby comfy during a car journey under the heat of the sun. That said, the following tips should help you provide not only the safest place for your little one but also the most comfortable one.
Since most families will be spending more time in the car, it’s critical to have your child’s car seat inspected first. A CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) is the best person to go to for your child’s car seat. They will be able to check if you installed the car seat correctly and teach you how to if you didn’t.
They can also give you advice on how to keep your child cool while he’s in his car seat. Always remember that even the most experienced parents make mistakes when installing a car seat. CPSTs, on the other hand, are the most knowledgeable when it comes to anything that’s car seat-related. This is one of the reasons why parents should show extra appreciation for CPSTs.
Get the right car seat
A car seat’s job is to keep your little one safe and avoid injury in case of a collision. However, not many people are aware that the color of the car seat you choose plays a role in how comfortable your baby is going to be. Darker colors like black, absorb more light which translates to more heat being absorbed by the car seat.
As much as possible, choose a light-colored car seat. If this is not possible, use a car seat cover to prevent the sun’s rays from heating the car seat. This should help a lot especially if your car is not parked in a shady area. There are different car seat covers for different car seats so be sure that you get the right one.
Get a car seat fan
A car seat fan is an accessory that clips onto the car seat to help keep your baby cool. It’s powered by batteries which are almost always rechargeable which makes them perfect for long trips. It’s also ideal to have a car seat fan when your AC isn’t enough or when your car doesn’t have rear air conditioning ducts.
As affordable as they may be, there are still a few things that you need to look for when buying baby car seat fans. For starters, the fan case needs to have little gaps in between to prevent those tiny hands from getting hurt. You can get away with fan cases that have huge openings provided that the fan blade is made of soft plastic or rubber.
Second, it’s important that the car seat fan doesn’t produce a lot of noise while running. You don’t want to risk your little one waking up from the noise unless you’re ready to deal with a grumpy baby. Finally, you have to make sure that the car seat fan is installed securely so it won’t turn into a dangerous projectile during a crash.
Precool the car before the ride
A vehicle that has been parked outside under the scorching heat of the sun is like an oven when you get inside. If an adult like yourself find it uncomfortable, imagine how much more it is for a baby.
So whenever possible, see to it that you park your vehicle under the shade. If not, crank up the AC and open the windows to push the warm air out and wait for a few minutes before hopping in. However, you can only do this if you’re at home or a friend’s place otherwise; you risk yourself being an easy target for predators.
In today’s age of smartphones and selfies, parents would almost always dress their little ones in the most fashionable way possible. There’s nothing wrong in doing so, however, spare your little one the fabulous outfit for when you arrive at your destination.
Lightweight, loose, and breathable clothes (preferably cotton) will go a long way during your trip. Besides, between taking a picture of a lightly-dressed baby and one that is dressed to impress but uncomfortable, the former is the clear winner.
Get a noggle
Babies should be in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible because it’s the safest place for them to be in during a crash. But because car seats are installed in the backseat, it can be difficult for the air coming from the A/C to reach the rear end of a vehicle.
This is where a noggle does an excellent job. It is an attachment that goes from your A/C vent to the car seat. It’s a very effective way to keep a baby cool since you can divert the air from one of your front vents directly to your baby who’s in the car seat.
Use a car seat cooler
During scorching summer days, pre-cooling the car before the ride is sometimes not enough. This is where a car seat cooler comes in handy. It’s an ice pack that you put on the seat before you travel to make sure that the car seat has already cooled before you tuck in your little one (that’s right! A car seat cooler is not used with the baby still in the seat).
Keep your baby hydrated
The best way, however, to keep your little one cool in the car is by making sure that he’s hydrated. Give your baby plenty of water or milk before, during and after the trip. This should help your baby regulate their temperature and prevent them from overheating.
If your child is already drinking from a cup, be sure that it’s secured in the backseat, so it doesn’t become a dangerous projectile. If you’re keeping bottles next to the car seat, it’s recommended that you use a car seat caddy to prevent them from moving and possibly hitting your child if an accident happens.
Do not forget to take breaks in between and always check on your little one from time to time. Finally, there should always be a parent or an adult in the backseat to look after the baby while you’re traveling.
It’s always nice for the whole family to enjoy summer but it’s even nicer if you don’t have to worry about your precious passenger. Just follow the tips provided here, and you should be good to go.