9 Ways to Keep Kids Cool in the Car This Summer

I was pretty excited when I found out that I was having a spring baby, right until the middle of summer last year when it became almost impossible to keep the baby cool—especially in the car. This summer has already presented a similar challenge and it’s only early June.

When I started brainstorming ideas to keep Eli cool, I struggled to balance safety with temperature. A fan could become a projectile in an accident and so I nixed that idea pretty quickly. Choosing a lower profile carseat was an option, but I preferred the safety benefits of the more contained one. And while I love Eli’s car seat, I also know that it is inherently warmer than the rest of the car. For starters, he’s facing backwards, so the air conditioning doesn’t directly hit him. His seat is well padded for safety and comfortability, but that means it doesn’t breathe as well. And that’s all on top of the already insufferable heat that results from parking the car outside in the summer.

After several weeks of a sweaty, red-faced baby in the car, I’ve finally found a good combination to help keep Eli cool and still allow us to get all our errands done.

Check it out!

  • 1 of 10
    9 ways to keep baby cool in the car

    Click through for suggestions to keep babies and kids cool in the car this summer!

  • 1. Choose a light colored carseat 2 of 10
    1. Choose a light colored carseat

    I kind of dropped the ball on this one, though we did opt for a grey seat instead of a black one. If the seat you choose has a lighter fabric option, definitely go that route. It may be more of a pain to keep clean, but you'll be able to save your baby some precious degrees of comfortability.

  • 2. Carseat covers 3 of 10
    2. Carseat covers

    If you're like us and have already purchased a dark colored carseat, one of these covers can be a big help. It makes a big difference in how much heat the seat absorbs, which results in a cooler baby. We love ours, at least when I remember to put it on.
    Order this from Amazon for $9.71

  • 3. Pre-cool the car 4 of 10
    3. Pre-cool the car

    This one won't work everywhere because obviously you don't want to leave your car on and unattended in certain neighborhoods, but at least at home if you can turn the car on and blast the air for a few minutes, you may be able to make the ride a bit more comfortable.
    Image from MorgueFile

  • 4. Ice packs! 5 of 10
    4. Ice packs!

    Even when you pre-cool the car, the seat can sometimes stay a bit warm, so after doing a bit of searching, I found a couple of products that help cool the seat itself. You keep these in the freezer until a few minutes before you leave, pop them in the seat to pre-cool it and then remove and put the baby in. You can take them frozen in the car and leave them in the seat while you're out, but obviously they won't stay cool forever. If you're crafty, you can use this pattern to make your own, or do like we do and just toss a couple of icepacks randomly in there without a fancy pouch.
    Order this from for $9.85

  • 5. Cool drinks in the back seat 6 of 10
    5. Cool drinks in the back seat

    Offering your child plenty of water before and after a trip can make a big difference in their body temperature. Cups can become dangerous projectiles in car accidents, so be sure that you can secure a cup before you leave it in the backseat, or make an adult stay in the back to hang on to it and offer periodic sips.
    Image from MorgueFile

  • 6. Plan trips in the morning or evening 7 of 10
    6. Plan trips in the morning or evening

    Whenever possible, arrange your appointments or errands when it is coolest outside. If you have to go out in the heat of the day, look for covered parking or spots in the shade, even if it means a little longer walk to your destination.

  • 7. Dress kids in light clothing 8 of 10
    7. Dress kids in light clothing

    Obviously if it's hot enough to be an issue in the car, you're not dressing your kid in sweats, but specifically choosing light clothes for long car trips will go a long way. Often, if we have to go somewhere nicer and need to dress the baby in anything heavier than light cotton rompers or shorts, I'll strip his bottoms off before buckling him in. Dressing your kids in lightweight breathable clothes, or removing a layer can go a long way to keeping them cool.

  • 8. Window tinting 9 of 10
    8. Window tinting

    I drive a hatchback and I swear it has more windows than everyone else's car, which means more sun and more heat. While we're planning to get the rear windows professionally tinted in the next month or so, in the meantime, we're using these static cling temporary shades. They're safer than some of the other window shades that can dislodge and become a projectile in an accident and they do a great job at keeping the sun out and the temperature down.
    Order this from Amazon for $9.29

  • 9. Adult in back cooling off baby 10 of 10
    9. Adult in back cooling off baby

    When all else fails, we usually opt for human power. When it's really hot and the baby is not tolerating it well, my husband will sit in the backseat and manually fan the baby. It helps keep him distracted and cool and can even help with that water spilling issue from #5. (Picture obviously not taken in car. But still.)

How do you keep your kids cool in the car in the summer?

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