UPDATE- I have received both criticism and praise for this project on social media. I just have to say that the vent is made of a tin foil type substance that is very thin and lightweight. I truly believe it poses no threat to my baby—even if we were to get in an accident because it is so lightweight and doesn’t touch the car seat, and holds its shape.
Furthermore, It has been VERY EFFECTIVE in keeping our baby cool in 100+ degree weather. She is sooo much happier to have cool air coming towards her. Before using this we’d pull her out of her car seat and she’d be dripping in sweat (her back would be completely wet). Now she is just fine, no sweat or anything. Finally, it doesn’t get in the way. We can adjust it higher when the sun shade is up and lower when her sun shade is pulled down. We pull out the car seat and put it in without hitting it.
Our daughter takes after her older brother in that she runs a little warmer than most. Even with tinted windows, putting her into her car seat in the house (where it is cool), and cooling the truck or sedan beforehand won’t keep her cool completely during summer drives and especially road trips.
The last road trip we went on she was crying a lot. We pulled over and took her out of her car seat. She was sweating pretty bad and her back was wet and clothes sticky from it. I felt miserable for her. We put her next to the A/C and she immediately calmed down. The rest of the trip we were pumping the A/C and directing all vents to her but with her sun shade to block the sun from burning her skin, it prevented her from really get much A/C and keeping cool.
It seems like ever since the temperatures have been over 85 degrees Fahrenheit we’ve been unable to keep her cool enough. She needs to be rear-facing for safety so I’ve been thinking about a solution to this problem for weeks.
In our SUV there is an A/C vent that comes down for the ceiling, but our truck (even though it’s fairly new) and our sedan (older) don’t have those options. So I decided to create my beautiful daughter an A/C vent of her own in our truck. My dad came over to help us set something up for a neighbor and I told him what I was envisioning. He helped me install it. This went fairly quickly (about 15 minutes max) and it cost under $12.00 as well. And it works!
Keep your child(ren) cool too by following these steps.
What you’ll need to complete this project:
3 inch in diameter and 8 ft long aluminum ducting—like this. Perhaps dryer venting would work as well. The dryer vent is plastic so it may not hold the desired shape as well as the aluminum, but it could be worth a try.
A Plastic Duct increaser/reducer 3″ to 4″—like this.
And I already had a variety of sizes of zip ties but you will need a heavy duty zip tie or a few longer zip ties.
How to Install a DIY A/C Vent for Rear-Facing Babies
Step 1. Feed a small-medium sized zip tie through the vents of your existing A/C. Make sure to secure it with at least two vent bars. If you have an A/C in the back of your middle console or floor board area then use that. If you don’t, use the vent coming from the front dash. Basically, you want the A/C vent that is closest to the child.
Next, use two medium-large size zip ties to go around the plastic increaser/reducer (use plastic to prevent scratching). Tighten only loosely at first.
Then, attach the two small zip ties that are around the vent to the medium-large zip ties that are around the increaser/reducer. Tighten all zip ties and trim excess.
Add the ducting to the increaser/reducer and tape it and the edges of the zip ties with packaging or duct tape. I used packaging clear tape so you can see what it looks like. When I do this again for our sedan I will use duct tape.
Then gently stretch the aluminum ducting into the form you would like and attach it to the handle with a heavy duty zip tie and trim the excess.
The awesome part about this is that the aluminum duct is retractable so that you can pull it out longer when the baby has his/her sun shade on—and it holds its shape!
My baby can’t really see the vent when it is like this and doesn’t reach out for it when covered with her sun shade.
And you can retract it up so it is further from them when the baby doesn’t have the sunshade on.
My baby cannot reach this even though she is very tall.
Some may ask if the air blows through. Because of the length of the ducting, the cold air does blow through but at a lower volume. This is good because our baby does not get too chilled. Even on max A/C, the volume dissipates so that there isn’t too strong of flow on the baby. When your A/C is on MAX A/C the baby’s A/C is med to high. When the A/C is on high the baby’s is on medium volume. When your A/C is on medium the babies is on low. When your A/C setting is low the baby’s A/C is on very low or may not get much A/C at all.
Some may wonder if the material is safe. I have rubbed the raw edges of aluminum against my skin and not gotten cut or deeply scratched. It holds its shape well and if it is out of the reach of the baby (and we made sure it is out of the reach of our toddler) it will not move. So I consider it safe.
Does it get in the way? That is the beauty of this system. It is hardly noticeable in the rear view mirror—see photo below.
When I drive I have to look for it.
Also, it does not interfere with putting the car seat in and taking it out. What’s even better is that our 2 1/2 year old son can’t reach it.
I can easily take it down and put it back on with three snips of zip ties. So if we need it out the kids we will simply cut the ties and then put the ties back on. It will only take a few minutes to remove and re-install.
And probably the most important question of all, Is it effective? Yes, it keeps our 7 month old cool and she does not over heat or gets too cold.
Our baby overheating problem has been solved in about 15 minutes and only cost $13.00!
Any other questions? Feel free to ask.
3 inch in diameter and 8 ft long aluminum ducting—like this. Perhaps dryer venting would work as well. It is plastic so it may not hold the desired shape as well as the aluminum, but it may be worth a try.
Plastic Duct increaser/reducer 3″ to 4″—like this.
variety of sizes of zip ties but you will need a heavy duty zip tie or a few longer zip ties.
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Chelsea @ Life With My Littles says
This is so clever! It really does get hot since air vents in the car typically don’t face that way! Thanks so much for sharing!
Anita Fowler says
Thanks Chelsea that is so kind of you. I hope you are doing well!
Charlee @ Humble in a Heartbeat says
Genius idea! Our first daughter was the same way. She had lots of baby rolls, and she would sweat in the car, in her crib, in her bouncy chair, etc. I always felt so bad for her. I will have to try this for our next child if they have the same problem!
Anita Fowler says
Thanks Charlee- Yes our daughter is always sweating, I’m glad I’m not alone. You are sweet to stop by.
Brandi Wilson says
I love this! My son is hot natured, and I suspect the new baby will be as well, whenever he/she arrives! I may just use this as an additional way to keep MYSELF cool on these hot summer Southern days!
Lisa Z says
That’s a great solution without getting the expensive noggle. Going to have to try this some time. I’ve read about the soonsi car seat liner that has a fan built in. But for the price, this looks like a simple yet effective project.