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How Do I Choose the Best Car Seat Sunshade?

E. M. Flanders
E. M. Flanders

The proper use of a car seat is a well-known part of providing protection for a youngster during travel by car, but the need for a car seat sunshade might not come to mind as quickly. Whether it’s a simple window-mounted screen or a canopy with sides, the idea is to keep the harsh sunlight from beating down on the child. Another type is designed to shade an empty seat when the car is parked in direct sunlight.

The canopy with sides uses a series of elastic fasteners so that parents can attach it to any of a variety of car seats and then adjust it to ensure a secure fit. After it is in place properly, it forms what basically is a deep, inverted U that can block a great deal of the sun’s rays that would otherwise enter from the sides and from above. This makes it an extremely effective style of car seat sunshade.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

A nice advantage of that type of sunshade is that it retains much, if not all, of its functionality as the vehicle changes direction because of turns and curves in the road. The problem with using such a car seat sunshade, though, is that it can create a feeling of being inside a tunnel because of the minimal side vision that it offers. Depending on the vehicle’s seats, even the child’s forward view might be obstructed. The resulting sensation of being closed in while riding under the canopy-shaped car seat sunshade could cause extreme discomfort for some children.

A less-effective alternative exists in the form of a window sunshade, which provides some protection from direct sunlight by attaching to the vehicle’s side glass with suction cups. It might be opaque or somewhat transparent, and when paired with the deeply tinted windows on many modern vehicles, even the latter design might be more efficient than expected. The combination is unlikely to match the protection provided by the canopy type of car seat sunshade, however, and the window sunshade naturally will require more attention from the driver to ensure that it continues to block the sun while the car is traveling on curving roads.

Although not directly comparable to the canopy or the window sunshade, there is another type worth considering as an addition to the supply of car seat accessories. This is a shade that covers the car seat while the car is parked in the sun and helps keep the surface temperature from climbing high enough to injure the child when he or she sits on its surface and particularly when he or she touches a metal part. Manufactured models are available, but a heavy, light-colored quilt also can be used.

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      Woman holding a book