Living in Orlando, we have the opportunity to get out to theme parks and beaches and other exciting places all summer long. The great part about this is being able to enjoy new adventures with the kids, but the downside is having to brave the incredible heat of midsummer temperatures, which average above 100 degrees almost every day. It took me about one summer to figure out some small things I can add to my diaper bag to help keep both my kids and myself cool on our hot summer outings.
The most helpful and instant cooling idea is one I got from my mom. The first time we took Michael to a theme park when he was a baby, it was the middle of summer and we had just moved back to Florida. I knew he wasn’t ready for that kind of heat, and I wasn’t prepared to help him stay cool. My mom suggested bringing a clean washcloth in a storage baggie in my diaper bag. I threw it in my diaper bag dry, and then later in the day when the heat got really unbearable at the theme park, I took the washcloth into a bathroom and ran it under cold water. Instantly, there was a cool, clean washcloth to wipe Bean down with. When he was cooled down, I put the now damp washcloth back in the baggie and threw it into my diaper bag again. Later on, I took it into a different bathroom, ran it under cold water, and Bean had another cooling wipe-down. It was reusable, clean, and refreshing without being expensive or taking up precious real estate in my diaper bag.
My mom also suggested using car seat coolers in the summer to keep our car seats cool for the kids. One of the biggest problems in the heat in Florida is getting into a hot car after you’ve been out somewhere. It can be dangerously hot, especially with a really small baby. I’ve learned that when we get back to the car, the very first thing I do before putting anyone or anything in the car is to open the windows and blast the AC. That way, the car is cooling while I’m unloading and getting everyone into the car. That two minutes of extra air can make a real difference in the summer heat.
But my mom’s suggestion of car seat coolers is what really saves the day. My mom found long rectangular ice packs at Walmart and the Dollar Store. She ended up sewing cute little fabric covers for ours, but you could certainly just use the ice pack. You freeze it at home, and then when you’re getting out of your car to spend the day on an outing somewhere, you put the cold seat cooler in the car seat. It sits there while you are out and keeps the car seat cool. It will melt quickly, but we found that the car seat will hold the cool for a while. Depending on the length of your outing, car seat coolers can be that one extra step that helps cool your tot down after being out in the heat. (If you’re interested in one of these, try Googling “car seat coolers” and you’ll find a ton you can order online, or instructions on how to make one yourself.)
After toting babies and toddlers and strollers and diaper bags around in the summer sun, a momma can get pretty hot herself! Last summer, I started carrying a bottle of body splash in my diaper bag. The slight alcohol content in the sprays keeps them cool, and the summery smells are instantly refreshing. Plus, it keeps me from smelling like a sweaty mess when we’re out running errands. A quick splash with this stuff really helps me cool off and feel a little more presentable when we’re on the go.
Another trick that I’ve learned this summer is to use insulated totes (like lunch bags or collapsible coolers) with an ice pack in the bottom to carry things other than food. I keep a pack of diaper wipes in my refrigerator at home all summer long. It’s cooling on a hot summer day for both diaper changes and a good wipe-down.
To keep my diaper wipes, drinks for the kids, and the washcloth I mentioned earlier cool on the go, I carry them in the cooler or lunch bag. I use a lunch bag myself, and it fits right inside my regular diaper bag but provides a place to keep things cool. When you’re packing your diaper bag, keep an eye out for non-traditional things that can be cooled down to help keep you and your family more comfortable when you’re out in the heat.
Beating the heat can be fairly simple and can be done using things around your house and in your diaper bag already if you just think a little outside the box. When you’re planning to be in the heat for a while, ask yourself as you pack your diaper bag, “What can I turn into a cooling agent in here?” You’ll be surprised how many things can be cooled down to help you beat the summer heat!
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