Whether your travel plans involve a trip to the beach, or a summer roadie to visit the olds, it's important to keep your baby cool and relaxed for those trips in the car.
Here are our top tips for your 2019 / 2020 Kiwi Summer:
1. Load the car up before you strap the kids in
When you're busy loading things up and organising the whanau, it can be tempting to strap your littlies in to keep them safe and out of the way.
However, given the average temperature in the car can rise scarily quickly, we recommend loading the car up first and making strapping baby in the very last step in your "let's go" plan.
2. Keep the windows or doors open when the car is turned off
Additionally, while you load that car up it's a good idea to have the windows and doors open, so that air is flowing through. This minimises sudden temperature changes as you get into the vehicle.
For young children especially, sudden increases in heat can be very dangerous. I experienced this personally with my eldest daughter when she was around 2 years old and had a febrile convulsion after I brought her from her bedroom (which was cooler) into the lounge (where we had the heater going). She was in her warm snuggly PJs and I didn't realise just how quickly her temperature escalated as she moved rooms. It was the scariest thing of my life - luckily she was ok.
It's apparently very normal for a child's body to go into shock if the temperature around them increases too quickly. Avoid that by opening windows and doors so the heat inside is more even with the heat outside.
3. Do a quick temperature check in the backseat before you put the kids in
Before you put baby in the car, or ask your bigger kids to jump in, jump in the back yourself to double check it isn't too hot back there.
It can take a while for the air con to circulate through the car, and sometimes the metal tongue belts on the car are awfully hot.
If the car seat you use has a metal buckle it's also important to check this too to make sure it isn't hot, and isn't likely to burn baby.
4. Keep your kids hydrated
It is oh so important to offer regular drinks, and snacks with high water content (like fruit), during hot days. If you are nervous about offering fruit to a little baby, you can even buy a feeding pouch to make it a bit safer.
In the car, it may be worth considering investing in some cup holders for the car seat if your car seat doesn't have one built in, and also in some sippy bottles. My personal favourite is the wow cup range, because these do not spill. My kids also love the b.box drink bottles.
5. Make sure your kids are wearing sunblock
With the New Zealand summer sun, you can never be too careful! Make sure they are using sunblock, even on days spent mostly in the car.
Rash tops, sun hats, and sun glasses, are all good to have too.
6. Take full advantage of shade
When you park the car, try and park under a tree or awning. This will help keep your car cool.
When you're on the road, use sun shades on the windows to create additional shade. You may find it beneficial to have a few sun shades to block sun from different angles.
And when you're stuck in traffic, if there are two lanes, try and drive alongside a nice big truck - especially if you can get your babies into that shadow.
Finally - don't forget to use the inbuilt sunshade if your carseat has one. Most capsules will, and it can be easy to forget to pull these wide open before you head off on your journey.
7. Dress your baby lightly
You can forget that your babies will be cushioned in their car seat. It can be awfully uncomfortable for them if you don't remove that outer layer before putting them in there.
Especially in summer, keep baby lightly dressed. This means lovely light natural fabrics, like cotton and other breathable fabrics.
8. Keep a spray bottle in the car full of cool water
If you do notice your child is getting too hot too quickly, having the ability to lightly mist them with cool water can be a lifesaver.
Big kids also like this trick - as do husbands. So spray and walk away, from heat exhaustion from your long summer road trip.
We hope this helps! Let us know below where you're heading this summer!