We’ve all seen it—parents take a stroll on a hot summer day, and drape a blanket or a towel over the baby stroller to shield the tiny passenger from the sun.
But as temperatures across the U.S. and around the world continue to reach dangerous highs, pediatricians are warning that this simple practice could have very dangerous consequences.
Similar to a vehicle during the summer months, an enclosed stroller on a hot day can create a greenhouse effect on hot days in any enclosed space—including a stroller—despite using thin, free-flowing fabric covering that appears to be breathable. The result can be soaring temperatures.
“It gets extremely hot down in the pram, something like a thermos,” Swedish pediatrician Svante Norgren told Svenska Dagbladet, a Swedish newspaper in 2014.
“It would quickly become uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for the child.”
To test the theory, the newspaper set an empty stroller out in the sun on a hot day. Without any coverings, the temperature inside the stroller reached about 71 degrees. When they added a thin cover, the temperature skyrocketed to 93 degrees in just 30 minutes. And after an hour of being covered in the sun, the stroller approached 99 degrees.