The Summer Season and a Baby’s Temperature
A baby remains the most helpless human you can imagine, and as our gifts, it is our responsibility to keep them safe and make them comfortable at their most vulnerable moment. And that includes keeping a baby cool in car seat during summer.
The summer season is the hottest period of the year, with temperatures ranging as high as:
- 95 °F (35 °C) in the northern region of Florida, the hottest state, 90 °F (32 °C) in the Keys, with heat index easily reaching 103°F–110°F (39 °C – 43 °C).
- 84–88 °F (29–31 °C) in Hawaii, the next hottest state,
- 76°F to 81° in Alaska, the coldest state.
With a general average high of 71.9 °F (22.2 °C) in the US (Hawaii and Alaska excluded) which is just about the maximum ideal range for a baby (between 68 °F – 72 °F). But this could get higher when in cars.
The ideal temperature a baby should remain at is 68 °F – 72 °F. However, this isn’t achievable on the average in a car without taking extra measures to help a baby cool. That is why you have to keep baby car seat cool in the summer.
During summer, the average temperature in a car after an hour is 116 °F, (44.1 degrees higher than the average in the US). Meaning, in a cold state like Alaska, where the lowest average temperature during summer is 52.3 °F, the temperature after an hour in the car would be 96.4 °F (24.3 °F higher than the ideal level for a baby). At 107°F, a child can die.
You wouldn’t be leaving your child unattended in the car ‘cos that’s against some states’ law, but even when driving, the temperature could still be high, especially in a baby car seat.
And when a baby’s temperature reaches 104 degrees, they can suffer heat illnesses such as heat stroke, hyperthermia, and, worst case, death. The next question would be, how to keep the baby cool in a car seat?
Let’s get on one more fact real quick before delving into the topic in detail.
The hottest states in the US and their average during summer are:
- Florida (90°F to 92°F),
- Hawaii (84°F),
- Louisiana (89°F to 94°F),
- Texas (65.3°F),
- Georgia (south: 90°F to 100°F; North: 72°F to 82°F),
- Mississippi (79.5??),
- Alabama (78.6??),
- South Carolina (78.4??),
- Arkansas (78.8??),
- Arizona (78-88°F).
The state with the least average temperature during summer is Alaska (52.3°F)
The worst scenario that could happen is forgetting a baby in the car during the summer.
Many states have laws prohibiting a child from being left in a car to curtail this. Some states call it the hot car law. And violating this law can land you hefty fines in states and jail terms in some other states.
5 Tips on How to Keep Baby Car Seat Cool in Summer
Here are 5 helpful tips on how to keep baby car seat cool in summer:
- Keep the vehicle cool – Keeping a baby car seat cool starts with making the vehicle cool. When the car’s internal environment is cool, the baby car seat will also be cool.
So, say you know what time of the day you’ll be leaving home with your baby, you should park the car in the garage if there is, to keep it cool. Or, under a shade away from direct sunlight with the windows slightly opened. This will help cool the car seat with no A/C.
However, if there is A/C, you can turn it on for 5 minutes before bringing your baby on.
- Use baby car seat shade – What about when you go grocery shopping, to the child health center, or the school?
You can get car seat shades for your baby car seat that provides cover and deflects sunlight from the seat, leaving it as cool as possible.
- Tinting the window – Tinting the window is an alternative way if you don’t want to use a car seat shade, or you can combine both to get an extra cool effect on your baby car seat.
Tinting deflects solar sun rays and reduces the amount of UV rays that fall on the car seat, maintaining a cool internal environment.
However, you must be familiar with the window tint percentage law in your state to be in compliance.
- Detach the infant seat from the base – if your child rides in an infant seat, this might be the best time to install your car seat together with the base in the vehicle.
When you arrive at your destination, you can detach the infant seat and use the carrier handle to carry the seat with your baby. This way, your infant seat remains cool while out of the vehicle.
- Baby car seat cooling pad – if you reside in any of the top 10 hottest states listed above, or you want to take this higher for your child’s extra comfort, a cooling pad is the best bet here.
A baby car seat cooling pad contains hydrogels that help absorb heat from the car seat while maintaining an optimal temperature for comfort.
If your car has been under the sunlight; about 5 minutes before setting out, put the cooling pad in the car seat to absorb all the heat. Then remove the pad and store away from heat/sunlight.
5 Tips on How to Keep Baby Cool in Car Seat
While the above dealth with keeping the baby car seat cool, this part covers how to keep your baby cool while in the car seat.
Here are 5 tips on how to keep your baby cool in car seat during the summer:
- Keep your baby hydrated – give your child extra water to keep them hydrated for the ride. Before you leave home or anywhere, give your baby some water. This helps prevent dehydration. If you are breastfeeding, feed your child just before the ride and as often as possible through the season, more often than usual. The same goes with bottle feeding.
- Use light clothing – car seat manufacturers recommend that children not be dressed heavily when in a car seat so the harness snugs well around them. This fits well with the summer season, and also in winter. In summer, keep the clothing light and simple.
- Hang a wet towel(s) around the infant seat – this will keep the air around your baby cool as they are rear-facing. This will also keep your baby from sweating in a car seat.
- Hang a small low-pressure fan on the rear-facing car seat – this works pretty well. Your baby doesn’t even know the heat going on out there.
- Short trips – consider taking short trips in the summer. This will reduce your child’s exposure to the hot weather.
And during the winter? Here is how to keep baby warm in winter.