An expert on car seats revealed why parents and caregivers should never cover their child’s car seat or stroller with a blanket or other fabric in the mistaken belief that this can keep a child safe from the sun.
While it’s common knowledge that leaving a child in a hot car on a sunny day can turn deadly very quickly, a car seat or stroller inside or outside a vehicle also can be potentially life-threatening if it’s covered by fabric — as a woman on TikTok has demonstrated.
Michelle Pratt, founder of the Tampa, Florida-based organization Safe in the Seat, released a series of TikToks during the month of May showing just how hot a car seat can get in the sun — and how a practice that many people think protects children can actually harm them.
To demonstrate this in a video, Pratt placed a thermometer in four strollers, each covered by a different type of material, including blankets, a mesh fabric and a built-in parasol.
After just 10 minutes, the temperatures of the strollers rose from 92 degrees to over 100 degrees.
A parent or caregiver out with a child in a stroller on a sunny day should take “frequent breaks” with their child and “consider adding a fan” to improve air circulation and reduce heat, Pratt noted urgently.
Temperatures in the covered strollers were at levels that could kill an infant after just 30 minutes. (@safeintheseat via TikTok)
“I know you think adding covers like these is going to protect your child,” she said.
“I hope you learned that it does quite the opposite.”
“Not only can this cause heat to be trapped inside the car seat, but it also is a suffocation hazard for very young children,” she said.
Rollins’ tip for parents who want to block babies from the sun while they’re in the car is to use proper window sunshades, she told Fox News Digital.
“Any time you completely cover your car seat, the temperature inside is going to rise significantly.”
The damp blanket raised the temperature of the car seat to a dangerous level in just 30 minutes. (@safeintheseat via TikTok)
Pratt found that the temperatures in a car seat fitted a canopy cover increased from 90 degrees to 95 degrees in just five minutes.
After 30 minutes, the temperature was 107.5 degrees — a level that can cause heatstroke and death in children.