There is so much baby gear on the market these days; it’s hard to tell what’s necessary and what’s just clever marketing.
One product that is a must-have to protect your baby is a car sun shade.
The sun’s rays are harsh, and car windows let in not only the light but also potentially dangerous UV rays as well.
To ensure your baby stays both comfortable and protected, you’ll want to find the best car shade. Here’s what you need to know to buy the right one for your vehicle.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Baby Sun Shade Picks of 2019 Read Full Reviews
Why Do I Need a Car Sun Shade?
A sun shade provides much-needed sun protection to your baby. While auto glass effectively blocks UVB rays from the sun, side windows do allow UVA rays to penetrate (1).
UVA exposure is associated with:
- Premature aging.
- Immunity suppression.
- Skin cancer development.
- Increased melanoma risk.
- Macular degeneration.
- Some types of eye cancers.
- Skin cancer on the eyelid.
- Corneal sunburn.
- Pterygium (growth on the cornea).
If you choose a one that provides UVA protection, it offers an additional layer of protection between your baby and the sun, protecting them from the potential eye and skin damage.
A sun shade also contributes to your child’s comfort. Because they’re sitting in a soft, cushioned car seat, they can often get quite hot. If the sunshine is streaming down on your baby, it can increase their temperature even further. A well-chosen barrier will help block this direct sunlight and keep some of the heat off your baby.
Types of Sun Shades
There are several types on the market.
They come in all different sizes to accommodate different-sized windows, from large minivans to more compact vehicles.
- Pop-Out: These have a wire frame that “pops out” to its full size when removed from the packaging. They’re typically rectangular in shape and affix to the window with suction cups.
- Pull-Down: These attach to your car’s window and can be pulled up or down (much like a window shade in your home) depending on whether it’s needed.
- Static Cling: This type of design sticks to your car’s window without the use of suction cups. It’s easily removed when not in use.
- Semi-Permanent: This is almost like simple DIY window tinting. You can cut the film to the size of your windows for a custom fit, and then stick it to the window. It’s a semi-permanent solution, meaning it isn’t convenient to remove and reapply.
What Else Should I Be Aware Of?
You want to make sure your sun shade is safe for your baby, so it’s important to be aware of a few safety considerations. While it can seem like there’s sometimes no “perfect” solution, be mindful of the risks so you can make the most informed choice for your family.
First, suction cups that come detached from the shade can pose a choking hazard to babies who like to put things in their mouths.
Alternatively, if your baby sits in the middle of your backseat, this type of sun shades may work since they’re far enough away to be out of baby’s reach.
Another style of shade is a “static-cling” model, which sticks to the window without suction cups, eliminating the potential choking hazard. However, many of these shades do so with a PVC backing that cling to the glass. PVC is emerging (although it’s still being investigated) as dangerous and linked to cancer, asthma, learning disabilities, and obesity (2).
These chemicals can become airborne, so if this concerns you, choose something with suction cups or see if you can find one that specifies it’s made without PVC, vinyl, or phthalates.
The challenge here is that unlike other baby products (like sippy cups and bottles), sun shades do not have to conform to certain safety standards or list their materials. So if chemical exposure is a big concern for you, you may just have to stick with the suction cup design to be certain your selection is PVC and phthalate free.
What Should I Look For?
When purchasing a car sun shade, look for the following:
- UVA Protection: For maximum protection, choose one that will protect your baby from UVA rays. Your car’s window blocks UVB rays.
- Large Suction Cups: To be effective, it needs to stay stuck to the window! If you’re choosing one with suction cups, make sure they’re large to ensure the shade won’t fall off during travel and become a choking hazard.
- PVC-Free: If you’re concerned about possible chemical exposure, you’ll want to stay away from static-cling styles as they’re made with PVC, which is starting to be linked to different long-term illnesses. Instead, you may prefer to choose one with suction cups.
- Removable or Semi-Permanent: Decide whether you’d like to transfer your window shade between vehicles or remove it on occasion. If you want a solution that will stay on the window long-term, you may want to choose a semi-permanent solution.
- Window Shape: Be aware of your car’s window shape and size when purchasing a window shade. You want to make sure the one you choose will fit and cover as much of the window as possible.
- Weight: To prevent injury in the unfortunate event of a crash, choose a sun shade that’s lightweight.
The Best Car Sun Shades of 2019
When you think about it, the cost of a good car sun shade is really small compared to the protection it gives you, every time you load your little one into the car. It can be hard to imagine the damage caused by invisible rays of light, yet they’re there all the same, and you can easily manage them with the right sun shade. Here are our top 11 picks currently on the market.
1. Kinder Fluff Car Sun Shade
Thick and Dark
These shades offer you the darkest mesh legally possible to protect your little one’s eyes. They’re also manufactured to be larger than many other models, covering a bigger area of the window, so they’re suitable for minivans and vehicles with large rear windows.
It uses static cling to attach to the window and comes in a 4-pack along with a carrying case for easy storage and transport. It’s easy to install and remove these without damaging your window, and they block 97% of UV rays from your little one’s eyes and skin.
Finally, the lightweight construction means your baby can’t hurt themselves if they inadvertently get their hands on it.
- It covers a generous area of the window.
- Blocks 97% of UV rays.
- Very lightweight and compact.
- It’s a good value since you get 4 shades in two transparencies.
- It likely contains PVC.
- It may be too large for smaller vehicles.
- Some users did not find it durable over time.
2. Enovoe Car Window Shades
Static Cling Technology
Designed specifically to offer coverage in larger vehicles, these large window shades will fit the windows in your minivan or SUV.
The mesh provides 97% UV protection while still maintaining safety and visibility for the driver. And since you get 4, you can install one on either side of your vehicle.
There are no adhesives that will damage your car’s window or custom tint, and no suction cups to pose a choking hazard.
And since it comes with a lifetime no-questions-asked money-back guarantee, you can buy this with confidence knowing that if you’re unhappy with your purchase, you can return it without a problem.
- It offers 97% UV protection.
- You get 4 shades.
- There’s a money back guarantee.
- Children can easily peel them off if reached.
- They likely contain PVC.
3. ZOTO Car Rear Window Sun Shade
This innovative full-coverage sun shade provides protection without the need for suction cups or static cling.
It stretches around the window, even allowing it to be rolled down while installed. Through a system of elastic and velcro, it can attach to nearly any car rear window.
This offers protection from 97% of UV rays, providing the equivalent of SPF 30 coverage. It’s lightweight and, since it’s firmly affixed to your vehicle, won’t pose a projectile risk in the event of a crash.
- It won’t fall off or lose suction.
- It covers the entire window, so you don’t get sunshine peeking through on the sides.
- It offers UV protection.
- You can still roll down the window.
- It will not fit a truck, jeep, SUV, or minivan.
- It’s not easily moved between vehicles.
- It is a semi-permanent solution that takes a bit more time to set up.
4. ShadeSox Universal Fit Car Side
Best for the Whole Family
Your most precious cargo are in the backseat! No matter how old your children are, protect them against the sun with this universal car shade. It doesn’t just cover a little patch of glass, but the entire window.
Because it’s made of a stretchy mesh material, it fits nearly all car models and is easy to install. Just open the door and place it the over the entire window and frame. It’ll stay in place while providing total protection from the sun.
You can even roll down the windows without having to remove them. We also like that it comes in a two pack so you can cover both backseat windows. Using these car shades protect against burns, overheating, sun glare, and dangerous UV exposure.
It also comes with a bonus eBook gift, filled with ten creative ideas for keeping children occupied in the backseat while traveling.
- Easy to install on nearly all car models.
- Flexible mesh protects against the sun .
- Includes a bonus eBook with tips for car rides.
- It covers the entire window, so visibility is reduced slightly.
5. Mblai Car Window Shade
In this 3-pack you get two shades for the rear side windows, along with a large one for the back window to block the heat and protect your rear-facing child.
The double-layer mesh provides the highest level of protection possible, and prevents 97% of UV rays from reaching your child’s eyes and skin.
They twist and store easily in the included storage pouch, and come with suction cups (rather than static cling) to affix to the windows.
In case you’re worried about unreliable suction cups, the manufacturers give helpful instructions to prevent the shades from falling off, or else you can return them for a refund.
- Comes with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee.
- Made from mesh and not PVC.
- It protects baby from 97% of UV rays.
- You can cover the rear window, which you can’t do with most other brands.
- The suction cups are detachable and could be dangerous for curious kids.
- Some reviewers found the suction cups didn’t stick well.
- You can’t roll down the windows while in use.
6. Brica White Car Shade
Best Retractable Car Shade
Traditionally, car shades can be tricky to take on and off. Save yourself the trouble with this retractable set. Simply press a button to roll them up when you don’t need them.
In this pack, you get two car shades. They have a dual attachment mode, so you can choose between the adjustable swivel window clips, the suction cups, or both. The premium mesh fabric provides superior visibility while helping to filter harmful UVA and UVB rays.
One of our favorite features is the white hot indicator. On the bottom of each screen is a little button that acts as an alert system. It’s normally red and when it turns white you know your car is too hot and may be a danger to your baby.
There are a few benefits to having retractable shades. You get increased visibility at night and cloudy days. Plus, your children can have the option to enjoy the beautiful views when the sun isn’t so bright.
- Increase visibility whenever you need with the push of a button.
- White hot indicator alerts you when the car is too hot.
- Dual attachment modes are extra secure.
- Older children may have too much fun pulling the shade up and down.
- You’ll have to be careful putting the windows down.
7. Punada Retractable Shade
Roll Up, Roll Down
This retractable sun shade can be pulled down when needed and retracted when it’s not.
It comes in a two-pack so you can install one on either side of your rear car windows, and the black mesh color allows for maximum driver visibility with minimal distraction.
Each shade is affixed to the window with three large, detachable suction cups which won’t cause damage and can be easily removed or moved to another vehicle. The mesh screen blocks 97% of rays, keeping your baby’s eyes and skin as protected as possible.
- It can be retracted at night for better visibility.
- You can roll down your window while installed (when retracted).
- It blocks 97% of UV rays.
- Suction cups are easily removable.
- Its bulk poses a projectile risk in the event of a crash.
- Easily pulled down by older children.
8. ZACAR Car Window Shade
Best Static Cling Shade
Suction cups can be pulled off and adhesives may damage the glass of your car windows. Try this special static cling shade instead. It uses the power of static cling to adhere the shade to your window, keeping a long-lasting hold that can also be easily pulled off.
Each shade has two sides. One side is made of static cling material while the other features a protective mesh that blocks up to 99% of damaging UV rays. The entire thing is held together with reinforced memory steel wire.
When you don’t need to use it, simply give a slight tug and twist. The shade will fold down into a compact shape which is easily stored away in the included travelling bag.
This pack comes with four shades in two sizes. If you’re constantly in the carpool lane, these shades protect your children when the sun is shining, but can be easily stored away when you don’t need them.
- Uses the strength of static cling to attach the shade without trouble.
- Comes with four shades in two different sizes.
- Holds strong, but comes down easily and compacts to a small size.
- Even the largest size won’t fill larger windows on trucks and vans.
9. TFY Car Window Shade
The angle of the sun changes as you drive, so it’s handy you can adjust your sun shade when it does. This pivoting style provides high- and medium-level sunblock protection and can be easily adjusted based on the sun position.
The mesh is effective, yet still allows adequate visibility for safety when driving.
It contains one suction cup which is screwed into the screens, so it will not fall off and turn into a choking hazard for your child.
And since it is not a “static-cling” style of shade, it’s constructed only of mesh, and without a PVC layer of material.
- The suction cup is securely affixed to the shade.
- It’s adjustable with the pivot design.
- Reviewers found the suction stayed in place well.
- It doesn’t specify UV protection level.
- Babies cannot adjust the screen as needed.
- You cannot roll down the window with it installed.
10. IntiPal Car Sun Shades
You don’t need a boring black shade — these are cute and kid-friendly with an adorable design.
They have built-in suction cups that, although removable, are not very easy to disassemble, so it minimizes the choking hazard to your child.
This 2-pack also offers UV protection along with mesh construction so you can see through them to ensure safety while driving.
And since they’re easy to remove, you can transfer them between cars or adjust them based on sun position to keep the light out of your little one’s eyes no matter where you are.
- Very affordable.
- You get 2 so you can change their position in the car or between cars.
- They fit most car windows.
- The suction cups are well-affixed.
- You cannot roll down the window when installed.
- The design may obscure the view and distract the driver.
- The exact UV protection is not specified.
11. Masatow 5-Pack Car Shades
Full Car Coverage
This pack of sun shades includes one large enough for your rear window — which is especially helpful in reducing heat and glare if your baby is rear-facing — plus four smaller shades for the rest of the windows. You can cover every window in the car with these.
You get to choose between affixing the shades to your window via static cling, or using optional suction cups for additional security.
They fold up for convenient storage, and they also come with a carrying case to keep them from getting snagged or broken when not in use. These come with a 45-day money-back guarantee in the event you’re not satisfied with your purchase.
- It’s an affordable 5-pack.
- You can cover your rear window.
- Choose between static cling or suction cups, according to what works for you.
- Likely contains PVC.
- Suction cups can be a choking hazard.
- The exact level of UV protection is not specified.
The Bottom Line
When you think of car safety for kids, you’re usually thinking about their seat. But don’t forget sun protection, too. It poses a very real threat to your child — one that could affect their health years down the road.
What are your top tips for traveling with toddlers? Can you recommend any lifesaver products to keep your little ones safe and sound in the car? Tell us about it in the comments!