If we park the car in broad daylight in summer, not only will we be faced with a stifling car when we get back, we also run the risk of exposing some of the materials inside the car to excessively high temperatures. The wheel, the dashboard, the gearshift or the seats can cause discomfort or even skin burns.
Children's seats are no exception. We should be aware that children's skin is thinner than adults' skin and they can potentially suffer from the effects of the heat much earlier. We need to be especially careful with any metal components of the seat, such as the seat belt or harness buckle. It is also possible that although a child does not directly suffer from burns they could be adversely affected by the heat in the car, such as through excessive sweating, or heatstroke.
What can we do to prevent the child car seat from overheating?
The most obvious and immediate thing to do, where possible, is to avoid parking the car in an exposed, sunny place. This means that the best thing to do is to park the car in the shade or in an underground or covered parking lot, for example. If it is not possible to park in the shade, we can use sunshades to block the sunlight as much as possible, above all in the most potentially concerning areas.
We can use car curtains on the rear windows, sunshades on the windshield and the rear window and covers for the wheel and the seats. There are a wide range of car accessories designed to protect the different parts of the car from the sun.
If it is not possible to keep the car out of the sun, we need to cool down the inside of the car and the seats before putting our child inside the vehicle. There are lots of ways to do this, and all of them involve creating air movement to replace the hot air with cooler, fresher air from outside.
For example, we can open a window slightly and energetically open and close the opposite car door. This movement will cause a suction and expulsion effect, meaning that the hot air inside the car can get out and fresher air, which will be several degrees cooler, can get in.
Air conditioning is also useful for cooling down the inside of the car. We just need to switch on the engine and activate the air conditioning at an appropriate temperature, between 22ºC and 24ºC, with the vents fully open. If we leave the rear windows slightly wound down, the air current will remove the warm air. Once the inside of the car is «inhabitable», all we need to do is adjust the air conditioning to keep the atmosphere cool.
Another option is to leave the child car seat in the trunk. It will still get hot but not as hot as if it were left inside the passenger cabin with only the car window protecting it from the full force of the sun. In this case, we will have to install the car seat when we are going to be using it in order to only place the child in the seat when we consider it is at the right temperature and will not cause the child discomfort or burns. Here we provide you with all the information you need to install a child restraint system.
We recommend reading the article entitled ‘My child sweats a lot. What can I do to make sure that he is more comfortable in the child car seat?’.