If you’re heading out on the roads with a little one during the summer, it can be tough to know how to keep them happy in the heat – especially if you’re in the car for a long time.

To help, we’ve compiled our 7 top tips for safe and happy journeys with your kids when the weather’s warm.

1. Avoid the peak heat

Keeping cool starts with the planning stage of your trip. Try to keep your travelling to the cooler parts of the day, like early morning or late afternoon. That way, you can avoid the hottest hours and keep your car cooler for your little one. Plus, your car’s air con won’t have to work as hard to keep your interior cool.

2. Cool down before you leave

Before setting off, spend a few minutes cooling down your car. Open all the doors and the boot to let the hot air escape and fresh air circulate – just be sure not to leave your vehicle unsupervised. This should make the start of your journey much more comfortable for everyone.

3. Stay hydrated

Keeping your fluids topped up when it’s hot is key to staying cool and safe, so make sure you and your little one stay hydrated during the trip. Pack plenty of water and remind your child to drink regularly.

A coolbox is a great way to keep drinks chilled while you’re on the move – they just plug into your cigarette plug for perfect drinks and snacks all road trip long. This Halfords 8 Litre 12V In-Car Electric Coolbox has a convenient carry handle if you’re heading off for a picnic or exploring away from the car, and straps directly into a seat using the seatbelt for easy access to all your refreshments.

4. Plan for some stops

Long car journeys can be tough, especially for younger kids. To keep everyone happy, plan in a few rest stops along your route as a chance to stretch your legs and cool down.

Look for rest areas with shade or indoor facilities where you can easily take a break from the heat. These stops will also give your car’s air conditioning a chance to break, making it more effective during the drive.

5. Block out the sun with window shades

Sunlight streaming through the windows can heat up the car quickly, so it’s a good idea to use some sun shades. These can block out the sun’s rays and help to keep the car cooler.

There are a couple of different types, and each is useful at different times. Rear passenger pop-up shades are perfect for keeping kids cool and protected, blocking out UV rays by sticking to the window glass.

Another great option is a full reflective sunshade to put inside the windscreen or rear window to block out the sun while you’re away from the car. These silver screens reflect UV rays to keep the air inside the car cooler, meaning you return to a car that’s comfortable to sit in.

6. Use a baby mirror

A baby mirror is a handy tool for keeping an eye on your child without needing to turn around, and they’re especially useful in hot weather. If your child is in a rear-facing car seat, a mirror helps you make sure that they’re comfortable and not getting too hot. It’s a small addition that can make a big difference.

7. Watch where you park

When you need to stop off, look for shady spots to keep your car cooler – think underneath a tree, at the side of a building, or shielded by another structure to keep the rays off. If there’s nothing shady to park beneath, it’s the perfect time to set up your windshield sunshade!

Following these tips should help to keep you and your child cool and comfy on those long summer car trips!