Includes Expert Content
Safe to drive in heat with newborn?
bisnar6665 posted:
I am a single father who has primary custody of a 6 year old. We live in Irvine, California. My ex has an 11 day old baby as well as 2 others under 5 and is scheduled to pick up our daughter from her after-school program at 2:15pm this Friday. She lives in Lake Elsinore, California. She says that she cannot do so because her vehicle does not have air conditioning and the heat would put her other children in danger.

Weather forecasts predict that it will be 86 degrees (highest) in Lake Elsinore and 81 degrees (highest) in Irvine on Friday. It takes between an hour and 1 1/2 hours to drive from Lake Elsinore to Irvine.

Will it put her children in harm's way to drive here and back if she were to leave Lake Elsinore at 1:00pm? What temperature is too high? What can she do to make the ride more comfortable for her children?

Please provide sources for your answers. Thank you so much.
fcl responded:
Honestly, I would be worried about your ex's health as well. 11 days post partum means she is still recovering from the birth. Driving in heat for an hour and a half with a baby and two small children in a hot car is going to be extremely stressful for her. If she had a c-section she shouldn't be driving at all at this point.

The problem with babies is that they dehydrate very easily. What is an acceptable temperature for us may not be for them. Their internal cooling systems don't work perfectly until they are about a year old. They need to be kept hydrated - this means more feeds than usual. The 1 1/2 drive could end up being a lot longer ...

Is her car big enough to have 3 children's/booster seats in the back seat?
Roy Benaroch, MD replied to fcl's response:
A little common sense here. I completely agree with FCL.

It is not reasonable to expect a woman, 11 days after giving birth, to drive 1 1/2 hours with three kids. Worse yet that the car has no air conditioning.

In my professional opinion, it would not be safe for mom or any of the children to do this.
bisnar6665 replied to fcl's response:
She has a minivan. Thank you for the advice.
bisnar6665 replied to Roy Benaroch, MD's response:
How long would you recommend that I provide transportation?

I appreciate the advice. Thank you.