Our favorite car seat expert, Alisa J Baer, MD, aka “The Car Seat Lady”, gives you expert advice for making sure your child is cool and comfortable in their car seat during the summer’s hottest months.
Removable 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.
Sunshades for the car seat
If you are using an infant carrier, keep the sunshade up while it’s in the car to block some of the sun coming in from the side windows. For older kids in convertible & combination seats, the car seat sunshade 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. These devices will keep the sun off the car seat while the car is parked, and can also be used while your child is in the car seat.
DO NOT use a roller sunshade on your car windows. These are not recommended because 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.
Cool Down your Child
Wet Your Kid: Using cool water, wet your child’s hair & exposed skin (and you may even want to wet his 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 he 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.
About Alisa J Baer, MD:
Alisa graduated from NYU School of Medicine in 2006, completed her pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 2009, and is currently living in NYC working as a pediatrician in the NICU (Neonatal intensive care unit) at Columbia University Children’s Hospital of New York – all the while continuing her role as “the car seat lady.” The epidemiological research Alisa conducted on parental knowledge about and attitudes towards booster seats culminated in a publication in a professional journal in addition to a presentation at a national conference. As a certified instructor for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 32-hour car seat course, she has educated nurses, doctors, social workers, police, firemen, and many other community members about car seat safety so that they can provide information and services through their professional roles. This website, dedicated to providing accurate, up-to-date information along with how-to videos to anyone worldwide is a dream of Alisa’s that has now come to fruition.