Keeping Car Seats Cool

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For most of you, summer is just beginning. For some, it never left. For others, it has been around for a while now. In many parts of the country, it can’t seem to make up its mind. One of the most common questions we get asked this time of the year is, “How can I keep my children cool in the car when it’s so hot out?” This question comes up most commonly with children who are rear facing, as the air flow can sometimes not reach them as quickly as older passengers. NEVER FEAR! We have lots of tips to keep your little ones safe AND cool, while still safely rear facing. I have two daughters, one who has several medical conditions that make it hard for her to regulate body temperature correctly, and another who just plain sweats a lot! So keeping cool when the temperature is rising is important to me.

WaterbottleThe most important action you can take in the summer months to keep your children cool is to keep them hydrated. Since we are talking about being safe in the car, hard sippy cups just won’t cut it, because of the risk of projectiles. Soft water bottles like the one pictured here are great!
There are several other simple, easy things to do as well. We don’t recommend fans, again because of the projectile risk, but opening the rear windows just a crack will help circulate the air, and pointing the vents towards the ceiling will get the air moving towards the back of the vehicle.WindowCling

We also do not recommend sunshades that attach to windows with suction cups, again because in a crash they could turn into dangerous projectiles. However, there are many sunshades out there that can provide a little bit extra protection from the sun’s rays, while just clinging to the window, and not obstructing your view. There are also fabric sunshades that stretch over the entire window, allowing the window to be rolled down while still providing shade.

The next tip is my favorite one. I wish I had known about these years ago, as they certainly would have saved me a lot of sweat! Frogg Togg Chilly Pads


By some sort of magic, these towels stay cool no matter the temperature outside, all by simply getting them wet! Awesome, right?! They can be found in the camping section of Wal-mart, and I ordered mine from Amazon. They come in a few different sizes, so you can get smaller ones for smaller kids! We wet these down before we leave, and the girls hang onto them, lay them across their lap, or rub them on their face to cool them down. They’re soft, so there is no projectile risk!

Cool In The Seat
See? Nice and Cool!


There are a few things you can do before you even get into the car to help keep the kids, and even you, a little bit cooler. A simple white towel laid over the car seats helps keep the seats a bit cooler, especially the metal buckles! Companies have heard parents’ demands for help keeping seats cool, and have come out with products like The Cold Seat. This is a long piece of fabric with ice packs in it which you place on the seat when not in use to keep the seat cool until you return. If you go that route, remember to stow the ice packs before travel!


This last tip I avoided for years. I mistakenly thought a window shade for the front of the car wouldn’t do much to help and I figured it would be a hassle to do. Everyone told me to get one, and I resisted for years.

When I finally caved, I wish I had done it sooner, as it really does make a difference in the temperature in the car, especially in the front seat. Having the front seat cooler makes the rest of the car cool down a lot faster.

Things Car Seats for the Littles does NOT recommend, because of the projectile risk are the following:

  • Fans
  • Spray bottles
  • Hard Ice Packs
  • Suction Cup Window Shades
  • Hard Sippy Cups

The summer can be brutal. I hope some of the solutions here can help keep your littles safe and cool during these hot summer months.

Another favorite of ours is the Noggle. It does double duty — it can keep kids cool in the summer and warm in the winter!  Read more about the Noggle in our review.

Originally written by Kim Robinson. Edits maintained by CSFTL.