How to Keep Baby Cool in a Car Seat: 10 Helpful Tips

As summer draws near we are all considering how to keep our babies cool. There are many items that can be purchased for this purpose. However, my hope is you can glean information form this article that will help you think of ways to use what you already have for this purpose. It is easy to buy everything in sight and then be buried in stuff.

Use the ideas here to help you keep you and baby cool. This article is especially about keeping cool in the car as you travel. Many of these thoughts will help you out doors and at home.

Make water and cool drinks easily available. Make your own popsicles from juice or purred fruit. These are a healthy treat. Breastfeed on demand. Use fans when you are able. Seek out the shade. Do not be out and about during the hottest times of the day. Arrange you schedule so you can be at home or in another air-conditioned place during the heat. My OB always said long walks in air-conditioned malls! That works for everyone! have so much fun this summer and KEEP COOl!!!

JUDY

1. Dress Smartly

1. Dress Your Baby Smartly

Remember the rule of thumb: If it’s TOO HOT for you, it’s going to be too hot for your baby. A hot car will be uncomfortable for anyone!

Newborn babies can only sweat on their foreheads. For premature babies, they might not even sweat.

A toddler will start sweating in their torsoneckshands, and feet. Kids can easily overheat, that’s why IT’S IMPORTANT to choose the right material to start off your car trip.

Since it’s summer, you should choose to dress your child in BREATHABLE material. The best materials to keep a child cool during the summer are cottonvoile, and jersey knit

AVOID materials such as fleece, flannel, and wool. Dress your child in light clothing. Avoid things that can overheat them, such as socks and hats.

2. Avoid Peak Temperatures

Prepare materials you can layer instead, such as a thin blanket. This will help in case the air-conditioning gets too cold or if the temperature suddenly drops while you keep cool in the car.

Avoid traveling with your kids during the hottest time of the day, which is between 10 am to 2 pm.

To play it safe, we recommend avoiding up to 4 pm. These are the HOTTEST hours, so your baby is at a higher risk of overheating and sunburn.

That’s why, when traveling with kids, it’s best to do it in the early mornings or later in the afternoon.

You should park in shaded areas whenever possible. Even if it’s going to be farther away from your destination. Believe me, it’s going to be worth it.

Leave all your windows slightly open. Since heat gets trapped inside cars, leaving the windows slightly open will help regulate the heat.

3. Choose the Right Car Seat

Tips for Choosing a Car Seat Color

With a baby, EVERY DETAIL MATTERS. Wouldn’t you agree? This includes the color and material of infant car seats.

Dark car seat colors, such as black or navy, are good for keeping the car seat clean from any stains. However, the DOWNSIDE is that these car seat colors absorb heat in the summer time.

The temperature inside your car will be hotter than the outside.

To illustrate, imagine that the outside temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This means cars can easily reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes.

So, what’s a safe color for infant car seats? White.

Lighter car seat colors do not attract heat because they reflect all visible wavelengths of light. Besides white, there’s also yelloworange, and red.

Tips for Choosing Car Seat Material

Granted, it will be difficult to find an infant car seat that’s all-white. Most infant convertible car seats are available in black only.

That’s why the next thing you can do is to inspect the material of the infant car seat.

Car seat materials usually come in 3 types:

  • Fabric
  • Vinyl
  • Leather

You’ll want to avoid fabric and vinyl car seats as they can get very hot during the summer. Vinyl car seats, in particular, aren’t as breathable as leather.

That leaves us with fabric car seats, such as nylon or polyester. Fabric car seats provide comfort and breathability in all four seasons.

However, keep in mind that fabric car seats are more prone to stains. These types of convertible car seats can also absorb moisture and cause odors.

Try Britax Cool-Flow Car Seats

Britax Cool-Flow

If you live in a really hot and humid area, we recommend investing in a cool-flow car seat. Britax cool-flow car seats are a great option.

Britax cool-flow car seats are available in 3 options:

  • Infant Car Seat: 4 to 35 lbs, less than 32 inches tall
  • Convertible Car Seat: For up to 65 lbs, less than 49 inches tall
  • Booster Car Seat: For 25 to 120 lbs, 30 to 62 inches tall

They also have a “One4Life” cool-flow car seat. These are all-in-one car seats that can freely convert from an infant car seat to a convertible car seat or booster car seat.

Britax car seats feature their Cool Flow Technology. The Cool Flow technology features a ventilated mesh fabric, which IMPROVES air flow to keep baby cool and comfy.

The Cool Flow design is available for all car seats. This includes the infant car seat, convertible car seat, and booster car seat.

Plus, Britax cool-flow car seats have a ClickTight Installation Technology. This makes installing the cool-flow car seat quicker and easier—just like buckling a seat belt.

4. Use a Car Seat Cover

4. Use a Cover

Car seat covers are a great way to add an extra layer of protection. Keep in mind though, that you use car seat covers when your child’s car seat is not in use.

Of course, there’s always the option to use reflective sun shades or towels to cover the car seat while your car is parked. However, car seat covers will be much more effective. For example:

  • A car seat cover will fit most car seats, whether you’re using a convertible car seat or booster seat.
  • Some car seats also come with a seat sun shield. Though it’s MORE EXPENSIVE, this product features a durable material to shield direct sunlight off the car seat.
  • There’s also the option to have breathable mesh fabric. A multi-purpose car seat cover blocks out the sun, rain, and insects. It’s also compatible with an infant carrier and strollers.

Car seat covers are available in all shapes, sizes, and price points. So it’s something we recommend all parents invest in, especially if you tend to park outdoors.

5. Use a Car Seat Cooler

5. Use a Cooler

Another effective solution is using a car seat cooler. Think of a car seat cooler as an upgraded version of a car seat cover.

Car seat coolers are freezable cooling pads or mats for babies. These coolers are intended to keep the car seat cool while your baby isn’t using it.

All you have to do is throw it in the freezer overnight. Then, unfold it and drape it over your baby’s car seat.

Important note: You should NOT let your child sit on top of the cooler mat. It can cause freezer burn even if it’s summer.

Instead, you should place it on their car seat about 10 to 15 minutes before the car trip. The cooling mat will cool down the car seat, belt, and buckle.

Our personal favorite is the Carats cooling pad

6. Open All Windows Once You Start Your Car

6. Open All Windows

Open the window as soon as you turn on the car. This will help the heat escape and regulate the air flow.

Take note you should do this BEFORE turning on the A/C. Why?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because of benzene, which is a carcinogen!

There was an email hoax a few years ago saying that turning on the A/C as soon as you get into your car will release harmful chemicals, including benzene.

However, that was proven to be false. Instead, you should open your window because of thegreenhouse effect.

When your car is parked with the windows closed, this causes your car to warm up and get heat trapped inside the car.

So, opening your windows for a minute or two will allow the HOT AIR from the inside of your car to go outside. This will make your car cool down FASTER.

You could also have a remote car starter. This handy feature will be helpful if you live in areas where summer is unforgiving.

7. Point the A/C Towards Your Child (or Get a Noggle!)

7. Point the A-C

After you’ve followed Tip #6, it’s time to turn on the air-conditioning.

Point the air vents towards your baby. It’s best if your car has a rear A/C duct so the back seat will be cool throughout the car ride.

If you don’t, don’t worry. You can invest in a Noggle.

What is a Noggle, you ask?

Noggle is a mini duct work to extend your car vents. You install it on the vent tube of your car so that you can keep the cool air flow from your car’s dash towards your baby in the back seat.

Here’s what we like about Noggles:

  • Easy to remove and install
  • Available for both forward-facing and rear-facing babies
  • Multiple sizes available: 6ft, 8ft, or 10ft options
  • Can be used in the summer and winter months

On that note, some parents might wonder: Windows or A/C?

We don’t recommend having the windows open during car rides. If you’re driving at a fast speed, the wind from the air can make your child struggle to breathe.

That’s why we prefer turning the A/C on. If you’re worried about your child catching a cold, prepare items you can layer. Or don’t set the temperature too low.

8. Block the Sun

8. Block the Sun

Buy Window Shades

Window shades, or reflective sun shades, are a great way to block out harmful UV radiation.

Some window shades cover the entire window but we find the partial ones work well too.

A normal mesh sun shade works fine and won’t break the bank.

However, if you want something more child-friendly, you can consider a printed one. Kids can look at it during car rides so they’ll be entertained.

You can choose from 3 types of reflective sun shades:

  • Accordion: With this option, it will open and close by folding. It’s typically placed on the windshield. However, it can be bulky to store and carry around.
  • Mesh: This is an inexpensive, lightweight option that covers the side windows. It blocks out most UV rays and they’re easy to install. However, it can affect visibility while driving (unless it’s a roller shade).
  • Custom-Fit: For this option, it will be customized to your car model’s windshield. So it will cover the entire glass to provide full coverage. This will require more effort on your side as you would need to measure and get a customized sunshade.

Tint Your Windows

Some parents don’t like using reflective sun shades during the car ride.

Some flimsy sunshades can easily fly off, hurting your child in the process. Plus, some of them may affect visibility when changing lanes or parking the car.

As such, another option would be tinting your windows. Most people think tinting a window is for additional privacy but tinted windows also combat heat.

However, tinting a window helps block off sunlight. This will REGULATE  your baby’s body temperature during the hot summer. In fact, many window tints block up to 99% of harmful UV rays.

Plus, in case of a car accident, a tinted window can prevent shattered glass from flying inside of your car.

If you’re from the United States, refer your state laws regarding tinting your windows.

9. Help Your Baby Cool Down

9. Help Cool Down

With blazing-hot temperatures, sometimes it’s only a matter of time before your child becomes too warm.

Don’t worry, there are several ways to help your baby cool down.

One of them is having the following items in your car at all times. These will keep your baby cool in the car, or help your little one cool down:

Cooling Towels

Cooling towels are a quick way to cool off your baby. These will bring down their body temperature and help with OVERHEATING.

A cooling towel is made with evaporative fiber. It retains water while remaining dry to the touch.

All you have to do is add water and wring it out. Place the towel on body parts that feel warm to the touch, such as the neck and shoulders.

To keep it safe, we recommend placing the cooling towel on the hips or legs of your baby. This is to PREVENT your baby from chewing on the towel.

Spray Bottle

A spray bottle is a CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE to cooling towels. A small 2 oz bottle will cost you about a dollar or less.

Fill up the spray bottle with cool waterSpray it on your baby as needed. You can wipe away the excess moisture using a towel.

Some spray bottles have a master setting in them. Others even have a small fan attached to it.

Personally, we’ve never tried either. However, it could be a convenient little feature. But for safety purposes (i.e. choking hazard), WE DON’T recommend it for younger children.

For older kids, you could buy them a spray fan or regular fan. This way, kids can hold it in place to cool down their body temperature.

But again, for safety purposes, it’s better to tuck it away when you start driving. Even if the fans have soft blades, they might hurt their fingers or it might be a choking hazard too.

Keeping Your Baby Hydrated

Besides cooling towels and spray bottles, it’s important to keep your baby hydrated in the hot summer. Hydration is key in regulating body temperature.

For a toddler and older kids, you can keep a cool water bottle inside the car. You can give them small amounts of water. And if needed, breastmilk or formula feeds to supplement it.

However, if your baby is less than 6 months old, do NOT give them water as it can hinder growth. Formula and breastmilk already contain 85% or more water, so it’s enough to keep them hydrated.

It’s also advisable to have ice packs in a car cooler. You can use it as a backup option for cooling towels or spray bottles.

Place a few ice cubes in a towel and wrap it tightly. Gently massage the ice pack to where your baby feels warm, such as the shoulders.

10. Don’t Leave Your Baby Alone in the Car

10. Don’t Leave Your Baby Alone

This might sound obvious, but never leave your baby alone in the car.

A parked car can become hot very quickly. It can reach up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit in extreme summer temperatures.

This is enough to melt your water bottle and sunglasses.

And yet, the news reports many children STILL DYING of heatstroke. According to the National Safety Councilan average of 38 children die each year because they were left unattended inside the car.

That’s why it’s important to emphasize this point: NEVER leave your child alone in the car, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

When getting out of the car, always ask yourself: “Where’s the baby?”

Kids also climb into unattended vehicles. So always make sure to lock your car doors and trunk.

Information on Why Some are Unable to Breastfeed

Girls, we are so fortunate to live in a time when breastfeeding is encouraged. In my training in lactation I learned there have been times in American history where breastfeeding was shunned by the medical establishment. I remember hearing a woman say she talked with her Obstetrician about breastfeeding and he asked “Why on earth would you want to do that?” How discouraging!!!

Current scientific research is so supportive of breastfeeding it is difficult to imagine not considering it. The information available regarding hormones released in both mother and baby during the act of breastfeeding is staggering!!! Our bodies were designed to provide this precious food for our babies and it benefits both mother and child. These hormones embellish the emotional bond between mother and baby, they help mom’s body recover from labor, they stabilize baby’s body temperature and blood sugars, and the list goes on and on.

As a doula my greatest encouragement to you is to commit to breastfeeding and do it alone for three weeks. It takes that long for your milk supply to stabilize. Remember, your world has just turned upside down. You are no longer just you, you are now a mom. That is a huge adjustment. Allow yourself the time to absorb this. Feed your baby on demand, when ever he wakes to eat feed him. This reeks havoc on your sleep, but stabilizes soon. If, after three weeks things have not improved get some help. Ask the staff at your OB’s office. Contact your doula or midwife. There are many who wish to help.

I find very often moms believe they are not making enough milk. This is rarely the case, but it is a consistent concern. If your baby is putting on weight you are fine. The goal is that your baby returns to birth weight within two weeks. If you make this goal you are doing well. Baby’s tummy is about the size of a pea at birth. It takes time for it to stretch out. Colostrum is what your body provides baby the first few days of life. It is sparse but extremely nutritious. Around three days your milk will come in. As baby drinks more your body produces more. It is truly an amazing system. At three, six, and twelve weeks your baby will go through growth spurts and need more milk. Your body will produce it. You don’t even have to think about it.

Allow yourself the relaxed time to let this natural process take its course. It is the most healthy thing for both you and your baby. In the long term you will both benefit greatly emotionally and physically. It just takes time. Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, and medical staff. You will be amazed at your progress!

JUDY

WHY SOME SHOULDN’T OR ARE UNABLE TO BREASTFEED

by Donna Murray, RN, BSN. Medically reviewed by Meredith Shur, MD. Updates April 11 2021

https://www.verywellfamily.com/why-some-women-cant-breastfeed-4153606

Please find excerpts from this article below. As always, further research on your own will answer more questions. Asking questions is always a good thing! Please let me know if I can help!!!

Breastfeeding is beneficial for both parents and babies, which is why experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. However, while most birthing parents can breastfeed, there are sometimes contraindications.https://ac0d3f87e708989d374e940fc8cead18.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

There are a few reasons why someone should not or may not be able to breastfeed their baby. For example, some parents cannot produce a healthy breast milk supply, while others may take certain medications or need to undergo a medical treatment that isn’t breastfeeding safe. There are also a few medical conditions that aren’t compatible with breastfeeding. In some situations, the parent may be able to pump and provide their baby with breast milk in a bottle, or they may be able to stop breastfeeding temporarily then restart.

Contraindicated Medicines 

Many medications, including those that require a prescription, are compatible with breastfeeding, but some are not. Some medications can pose a risk to a breastfed babies when taken by the breastfeeding parent, such as:

  • Chemotherapy drugs2
  • Antiretroviral medications
  • Radioactive iodine
  • Some sedatives
  • Seizure medication
  • Medicines that may cause drowsiness
  • Medications that suppress breathing

Other medications can cause a decrease in the milk supply, making them a less favorable choice for breastfeeding parents. These include cold and sinus medications that contain pseudoephedrine, as well as certain types of hormonal birth control.

https://ac0d3f87e708989d374e940fc8cead18.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Discuss all medications with your doctor before breastfeeding—not just new ones. They can let you know if they’re safe to use while you’re breastfeeding.

Substance Use 

It is not safe to use recreational drugs while breastfeeding because these substances can get into your breast milk and pass to the baby, which can cause irritability, sleepiness, poor feeding, growth problems, neurological damage, or even death. If you’re struggling with addiction, help is available.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

If you are sober or in treatment, you may be able to breastfeed safely.3If you have a history of drug use but no longer use substances and want to nurse your baby, consult your healthcare provider for guidance

Infectious Diseases 

Many common infections are easily treated and do not interfere with breastfeeding or harm the baby. However, there are a few infectious diseases that can pass to a baby through breast milk, and in some cases, the risk of transmission outweighs the benefits of breastfeeding.

HIV 

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). A mother who has HIV can pass the virus to her child through breastfeeding and her breast milk.

Since AIDS does not have a cure, a mother who is HIV positive should not breastfeed if she lives in an area of the world where a safe alternative such as infant formula is available. However, in countries where a safe replacement is not possible, exclusive breastfeeding may be recommended.4

HTLV 

The human T-cell lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1) is a virus that can lead to leukemia and lymphoma. Human T-cell lymphotropic virus 2 (HTLV-2) can cause brain and lung issues. These viruses may not cause any symptoms at all, but they are lifelong conditions for which there is no cure. Since HTLV-1 and HTLV-2 can pass to a baby through breast milk, babies born to parents who are positive for HTLV should not breastfeed.

However, studies show that HTLV-1 cells can be destroyed by the freezing and thawing of expressed breast milk if the milk is frozen at a temperature of -4 degrees F (-20 C) or below for more than 12 hours.5

Active Tuberculosis Infection 

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection in the lungs. It is passed through respiratory droplets, not by breastfeeding or breast milk. However, a parent can give active tuberculosis to a child through coughing, sneezing, and touching. When a parent has active TB, but their baby does not, the parent should not be in close contact with the baby and therefore should not breastfeed.

Since tuberculosis is not transmitted through breast milk, a baby can receive pumped breast milk until breastfeeding can begin after about two weeks of treatment. When both breastfeeding parent and baby have TB, they can stay together during treatment, and the baby can breastfeed.

Herpes on the Breast 

Herpes is not passed through breast milk, so as long as the lesions are not on the breast, any lesions on other body parts are covered, and thorough hand washing is performed, it is safe to breastfeed.6However, when there are active lesions on the breast, breastfeeding is dangerous as the herpes virus can be deadly to a baby.

Baby’s Medical Needs 

Most babies can breastfeed. Even infants born with conditions such as prematurity, cleft lip and palate, or Down syndrome who may not be able to take the breast right away can still take pumped breast milk in a bottle. With patience, time, and help, these babies may go on to breastfeed successfully.

It’s only when a baby is born with one of a few rare genetic metabolic conditions that breastfeeding may not be possible. But, even then, sometimes a baby can still partially breastfeed.

Classic Galactosemia 

Galactosemia is the body’s inability to break down galactose. Galactose is a part of the milk sugar lactose, and lactose is the main sugar in breast milk. So, if a baby tests positive for classic galactosemia, they cannot breastfeed or take breast milk in a bottle.7

 The child will need a special infant formula and a galactose-free diet to prevent severe complications such as jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, long-term developmental problems, and death.

A less severe form of galactosemia is called Duarte’s galactosemia. Children with Duarte’s galactosemia can break down some galactose. Under the direct care of a doctor specializing in metabolic disorders, it may be possible to breastfeed babies with Duarte’s galactosemia while supplementing with the galactose-free formula. The doctor will have to monitor the baby’s galactose levels frequently to make sure that they stay under control.

Phenylketonuria (PKU) 

A baby with PKU can’t break down phenylalanine, an amino acid. If phenylalanine builds up in the baby’s body, it can cause brain damage. Therefore, babies with PKU need a diet low in phenylalanine.

There is a special infant formula for infants with PKU. But, since breast milk is low in phenylalanine, a baby with PKU may be able to combine breastfeeding and formula feeding with a special formula. The amount of breastfeeding needs to be controlled, and the baby has to have regular blood work and careful monitoring.

Maple Syrup Urine Disease 

A baby born with maple syrup urine disease cannot break down the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. When these amino acids accumulate in the baby’s blood, they give off a sweet maple syrup scent that is noticeable in the urine, ear wax, and sweat. The build-up of these amino acids can cause sleepiness, poor feeding, vomiting, seizures, coma, and death.

To fulfill the baby’s nutritional needs, your baby’s doctor will order a special infant formula that does not contain the three amino acids leucine, isoleucine, valine. The doctor may also recommend partial breastfeeding if the amount of breast milk is carefully measured and the baby is monitored closely.

1. Galactosemia. If the infant is born with this rare genetic metabolic disease, breastfeeding is impossible. Many states test for this disorder, but early diagnosis is important. It is imperative that those with the condition avoid all milk products throughout life. The rate among white infants is 1 in 60,000, according to the US National Library of Medicine.

2. Mothers who have HIV. The disease can be transferred easily to the infant through breast milk.

3. Mothers with active and untreated tuberculosis. This is highly contagious, but for mothers who have been treated and no longer infectious, it is safe to nurse their babies.

4. Mothers have cancer and are taking chemotherapy drugs or other drugs toxic to baby. These medications can cross into the breast milk to the baby.

5. Mother is undergoing radiation treatment. This is a temporary situation, so moms can breastfeed once the radiation treatments have ended.

6. Mother has a severe illness such as sepsis that may be carried to the baby. 

7. Mother is infected with hepatitis B or C. If it’s hepatitis B, the baby should be vaccinated within 48 hours of birth. If it’s hepatitis C, according to the Children’s Health Network, avoid nursing if nipples are cracked or bleeding.

8. If mother has herpes virus and has related sores on her nipples. However, breastfeeding may resume once the sores have healed.

9. Mother is infected with human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I or II. 

10. Mother uses illicit drugs such as cocaine, other hard drugs, or uses marijuana, drinks alcohol or smokes cigarettes and is unable to stop. In such cases, mothers should seek treatment whether or not she is nursing for her own health and her child’s welfare however.

5 Reasons Why Women Don’t Breastfeed

1. The biggest reason: 31 percent of women stated, “My baby had difficulty nursing.” Most new moms do have some initial difficulties in the early weeks, and if they don’t know it will get better, or know how to get help, they are likely to give up due to latch on problems, nipple pain or concerns about whether they are doing it correctly. According to a national survey, up to 47 percent of women were not told of breastfeeding resources available to them while in the hospital after giving birth.

2. Bottle feeding is perceived as easier, is the second most common reason. For those who have breastfed successfully, this one seems highly arguable. Breastfeeding requires no bottles, no midnight runs to the store, certainly less prep time and no cash outlay. This again would seem tied to how prepared and informed new mothers are about breastfeeding options.

3. It was tough to get started nursing the baby, is tied as the second reason women give for not breastfeeding. First timers must admit, the early weeks are indeed the hardest weeks. Your nipples may seem to be ready to fall off, depending on your particular sensitivity, and your milk supply isn’t established yet so you may experience painful swelling or engorgement at times. Once more, better information and preparation as well as support seems the answer to this common problem.

4. I didn’t get the support I needed. This next most common reason cited seems to combine all the earlier responses. These women just realized this as the root of the problem with nursing their babies. Hospitals make it far easier to bottle feed, handing out free formula, coupons for formula, supplementing with formula or water, offering newborns pacifiers before baby has learned to deal with mama’s nipples adequately, and don’t as a rule actively support breastfeeding or provide new moms with instruction on the nitty-gritty how to’s.

5. I knew I wouldn’t breastfeed long anyway, as I have to go back to work soon. Working and breastfeeding are definitely more challenging than staying home and nursing. However, should women be given more tips, as easy access to breast pumps and other supplies as they are formula, the numbers would likely change