Children being secured in car seats

As families head out on the road this summer, keeping children safe should be top of mind. Consumer Reports’ car-seat experts have some tips for protecting kids while traveling during these summer months.

More on Child Safety

Check for Hot Car-Seat Parts
"Car-seat components, such as buckles and buckle tongues, can get hot in the sun. Always check the areas of the car seat that come in contact with a child in order to avoid burns. Some seat manufacturers recommend placing a lightly colored blanket or towel over the car seat when it’s unoccupied and sitting in the sun.

Apply Sunscreen Before Heading Out
Children can be exposed to ultraviolet rays even when they are in a car. It’s best to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen to children at least 15 minutes before heading out. Parents should also dress their children in lightweight, tightly woven clothing to keep them cool and covered, such as cotton pants and long-sleeved shirts.

Never Leave a Child Alone in the Car
It doesn’t have to be a hot, sunny day for temperatures inside a car to quickly rise to dangerous levels. Even on cloudy days with mild temperatures, children are at risk of heatstroke if left alone in the car.

For more car seat and child passenger safety tips, see our
 car seat buying guide.

Always Keep Vehicles Locked
Cars can be a tempting play area for young children. That’s why it’s so important to keep every vehicle locked, even when it's at home, and to tuck the keys away from a child’s reach. Some deaths in hot cars have occurred when children were playing in them unattended.

Get a Towable RV Instead of a Motor Home
Motor homes aren’t subject to the same federal vehicle safety standards as passenger vehicles and often don’t have proper seat belts, LATCH anchors (lower and top tether), or even a sufficient number of forward-facing vehicle seats to securely install car seats for kids. And there can be many things in a motor home that can become projectiles in a crash. CR recommends keeping children secured safely and in car seats in your personal vehicle. A towable RV may provide the best balance of safety and adventure. (See CR's guide to RV trailers.)

Keeping Kids Safe From Hot Cars

Just how hot can the inside of a car get? On the "Consumer 101" TV show, Consumer Reports expert Emily Thomas, Ph.D., shows host Jack Rico how rapidly interior temperatures can rise—and what you can do to protect your kids.