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Keeping cool in my car seat

March 16, 2013

Car on beach sand

A Dubai summer will guarantee you have a real challenge to avoid overheating in the back seat.  However, there’s a few things you can do to make sure your baby is as comfortable back there as possible:

  • The most obvious one is air conditioning. Not all cars have an AC vent in the rear so if you’re in the market to buy a car this might be something to put on your checklist. Before the summer really kicks in it can be worth taking your car for an AC service as from time to time the gas in the AC system will need changing. A check over at a garage or service station is only around AED 200 – 300 and will make sure it’s working at its best when it’s needed most.
  • Recirculate the air in the car so the AC  is cooling down air that’s already cool, not working flat out cooling the hot air from outside.

recirculate air symbol

  • When you get in a car that’s been parked in the sun the air inside is much hotter than the outside so give your AC a helping hand and open your front windows for a minute to let the really hot air escape.
  • A heavy tint on your rear passenger windows reflects infra-red rays and can make a significant difference to the air temperature. It does need replacing every few years though and beware not to go too dark or you’ll find yourself paying to get it removed when you next register your vehicle.
  • If you don’t want to go for a tint, window shades can help. You can get retractable ones like this or similar ones are also available from Mothercare, but check that they’re not obstructing the driver’s visibility. Shades or tint are also great for privacy if you want to breastfeed in the back of the car. Just be careful not to try and open the electric windows with a shade attached (like Mum often does).
  • Parking under shade reduces the temperature in the car by 5C compared with parking in the full sun. If  it’s not possible at least use a windscreen shield to pop on your dashboard.
  • Always always keep bottled water in the car in case you break down in the summer. Remember to replace it fairly regularly as the heat can make chemicals leach out of the plastic bottle and into the water. (see my post on drinking water) A bottle of water can also come in handy to top up your windscreen fluid if you get caught in a sandstorm.
  • Leather seats can be excrutiatingly hot on little bare feet, especially when you’re in a rear facing car seat and you like to press your toes into the leather. Drape a muslin or blanket across the seat, but just be careful not to let it interfere with the fixing of the car seat.
  • Most Maxi Cosi car seats have an optional fabric cover you can attach which are less sweaty in hot weather. I have a ‘summer cover‘ for my Maxi Cosi Pebble which is cooling in summer and machine washable too. If you choose a car seat which does not have ‘summer cover’ then consider getting one in a lighter coloured fabric.
  • Keep a water spray in the car for an instant cool down. You can either buy an empty spray bottle which you can refill (like this one from Boots) or you can buy something like the Evian aerosols from a pharmacy or supermarket. On very hot days don’t leave the aerosols in the car or they can explode in the heat. If, like me, your baby is not so impressed at having a mist sprayed in his face you could spray a flannel or muslin and pat his little forehead cool with it. evian-water-spray
  • Most importantly keep everyone well hydrated. If breastfeeding, allow extra time to park up in a safe place or make sure your baby has water in his bottle / sippy cup.
  • Don’t be in the habit of running low in petrol – it’s no fun getting stranded in the summer and with no AC it could quickly become a dangerous situation for a young baby.
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