I grew up in the Phoenix desert.
More accurately, I grew up in an oven.
While kids in other parts of the country relished summer as the time to ride bikes, play ball and generally be outside in comfort, my friends and I were kept inside while the sun was out. Like little suburban vampires, we only went outside after the sun went down. You know, when it was a cool 100 degrees instead of 112.
I’ve been waging war against the heat since I was young. I thought I was used to it. Then my daughter arrived and I became acutely aware of just how damn hot it is here. I made it a mission to find things to help conquer the summer scorch.
Here’s what I’ve armed our family with, so far. These five things have helped us shield her from buckle burns, flushed cheeks and a sweaty back.
And, hey, if they work in Phoenix, just think what they can do for you.
It’s the silliest name, but the Noggle is one of my all-time favorite baby accessories. It’s a must-have for parents with cars that don’t have backseat air-conditioning vents. Invented by two dads in Phoenix who wanted to get cool air to their infants as soon as possible in the car, the Noggle transfers the cold air from the front of the car directly to your baby in the backseat. The tube is ridiculously simple to set up and can be easily removed. To install, you hook one end of the Noggle to the A/C in your dash. The other end gets tied in the back, usually to the backseat headrest (all the necessary equipment is included). It’s a bit bulky, but you get used to that. And it’s worth it to avoid an overheated baby. A 6-foot Noggle is $39.99.
Cart seat cooler
This is essentially an ice pack for a car seat. I use the Cooltech Car Seat Cooler ($39.99). It keeps the car seat cloth cool, but more importantly, it stops metal buckles from searing baby’s skin. You keep it folded up in the freezer and when you go out, you unfold it and put it in the car seat. Remove it when baby is ready to get back in (the seat won’t be wet because the cooler doesn’t have condensation as it melts). It fits snugly in both rear- and forward-facing car seats.
Car seat sun shade
On its own, the sun shade doesn’t cool. But it does prevent metal from becoming a torture device by deflecting the sun. Combine it with the car seat cooler and it becomes an insulation device that keeps things super chilly. I keep this in my car always, and on the occasions I’ve forgotten the car seat cooler, it has saved the day. Definitely better than nothing. And you’ve got to love the $7.99 price tag.
Water play table
At our house, this is the compromise between playing outside and staying cool. We have the Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table ($33.74 on Amazon), which has a bunch of activities like a ferris wheel and a spiral tower. She’s soaked and engaged and we’re happy she’s not cooped up or frying in the heat. We keep the play table under the shaded patio so our daughter is out of the direct sun. You can also put it under an umbrella.
These are themed around “Frozen” (what isn’t?) and are smaller than regular popsicles, which are perfect for infants and young children. They’re slow-melting, too, thanks to the addition of gelatin. One box comes with three flavors: berry, cherry and raspberry.