Consider this a blanket parenting rule.
Michelle Pratt, founder of the Florida-based child safety organization Safe in the Seat, warns in a new TikTok video that shielding children from the sun on a hot day with a blanket over their car seat or stroller could be dangerous.
“Covering your baby and their stroller can be really dangerous, because it creates what’s called a greenhouse effect trapping that hot air and lack of circulation in the stroller,” Pratt explains in the clip, which has reached over 843,000 views since it was posted last month.
Pratt runs an experiment with four strollers with different types of covers. She places thermometers in each one, checking the temperatures after 10 minutes, 30 minutes, and one hour.
Pratt noted heatstroke can occur when the core body temperature reaches 104 degrees.
The day of her demonstration, the outside temperature was 87 degrees, and the thermometer started at 92 degrees.
After 10 minutes, the temperature in one of the covered strollers rose all the way to 112 degrees — with the rest of them near or over 100 degrees.
And, after 30 minutes, all of the stroller temperatures topped 100 degrees.
“These seats have now been outside in direct sunlight for 60 minutes, and what we’ve seen is the temperatures here are pretty similar to what it was at the 30-minute mark,” Pratt noted.
She continued, “The majority of heat increase happened in those first 30 minutes. Bottom line, these types of covers create dangerously high temperatures inside of your car seat.”
Pratt recommends getting kids out of the car seat as soon as possible on hot days, giving them frequent breaks while they’re in the stroller in direct sunlight, or even adding a fan to the stroller or car seat.
“I know you think adding covers like these is going to protect your child, in fact, I hope you’ve learned that it does quite the opposite,” she concluded.
The Post reached out to Pratt for comment.
Medical experts have also warned against draping a blanket over a child’s stroller or car seat.
Swedish Dr. Svante Norgren told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in 2014 that the temperature in strollers can become “something like a thermos.”
“It gets extremely hot down in the pram, something like a thermos,” Norgen said, according to Parents.com. “There is also bad circulation of the air, and it is hard to see the baby with a cover over the pram.”
North Carolina Dr. Christian Nechyba echoed Pratt’s sentiments about a stroller covering causing a potential greenhouse effect, in a 2016 interview with an ABC affiliate.
“You might think you are shading the baby from sun, but you are actually trapping in heat kind of a greenhouse effect, so that’s certainly not advisable,” Nechyba said.