Every parent is familiar with the tedious struggle of getting their child to fall asleep. Keeping to a schedule and having a dark, calming environment for your baby to slumber are usually the best techniques for success. However, circumstances like travel can be a big hindrance to that ever so necessary routine, and unfortunately, there is no light switch to the sun.

According to experts, “Light is the most important external factor affecting readiness for sleep”. For those who are looking to cover their car windows for sleeping purposes, here are the top hacks to help you achieve a dark environment. 

The best method of covering car windows for sleeping is to utilize a combination of ShadeSox’s Universal slip-on shades and a custom cutout of blackout window film. This allows users to achieve 100% blockage of the sun’s rays while simultaneously being able to crack open the windows unbeknownst to anyone else.

Depending on the number of windows you hope to cover and your method of shielding the light, expect to spend at least $50 on this enterprise.

You can also create your own cover for car windows for sleeping that is more budget-friendly. 

Whether it be a budget camping trip, a long-distance vacation or you just want an optimal sleeping space for when your baby dozes off while on the road, it is a simple process to make your own custom car privacy window covers!

Step #1: Gather Your Supplies

Here are the supplies and tools required to complete this project:

  • Cardboard
  • Reflectix 
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie
  • Velcro Stripping
  • Black Spray Paint (optional)

Step #2: Create Your Stencil

Cut out a rectangular section of Reflectix that encompasses a larger space than the window you are intending to cover (an additional two-inch perimeter is recommended). Next, while holding this piece against the window, trace the window area with a sharpie. Cut out your section — this will serve as your stencil!

The layers of Reflectix work as both a reflector and an insulator. This helps to keep the sun from heating up your vehicle, while simultaneously regulating the temperature within the car. This makes it an optimal material to cover car windows for sleeping. 

Step #3: Cut Out Your Panel Parts

Using this new cutout, trace the shape onto another piece of Reflectix. Then, repeat this step two more times on a piece of cardboard. Lastly, cut out all of your parts. This will provide you with panels for each of the side windows of the vehicle. 

Step #4: Glue Everything Together

Take your spray adhesive and apply a heavy coat to one side of each piece of cardboard. Then, carefully align the Reflectix and adhere it to cardboard pieces. Press firmly to ensure that the entire surface sticks together.

Step #5: Spray Paint The Covering [OPTIONAL]

For the folks who don’t want it to be obvious that they will be snoozing in their SUV, this is a fantastic and easy way to mask your actions. Apply a heavy coat of black spray paint to the shiny side of your panels. Then give it ample time to dry. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: This step will take away from the heat-resistant qualities of the Reflectix. This is due to the fact that black absorbs heat whereas the original silver coloring reflects the sun’s rays. The insulation qualities will still remain intact

Step #6: Add Velcro Stripping

The final step is to adhere two strips of velcro to the top and bottom portions of the painted side of your window coverings. Repeat the process on your windows, making sure that the strips line up properly. This will ensure that your window coverings remain in place.

Alternative Cover For Car Windows For Sleeping

Once children enter the picture, time seems to magically disappear. While you may have good intentions of creating a simple, DIY solution, many times we require a more immediate and permanent fix. Thankfully, there are a few products that will provide you with the shade you need to allow you and your passengers to catch some Zzz’s.

Option #1: WeatherTech Sunshade

While landing on the higher end of the price spectrum, WeatherTech is a reputable car accessory brand that specializes in the protection of both the vehicle and the passengers on board. Their Full Vehicle Kit provides customers with coverage for the entire vehicle. 

This is the perfect solution for those who want to cover their car windows for sleeping when using their vehicle for overnight camping trips or for long-distance travel with an infant or small child! Moreover, these products don’t just shield the sun. They also aid in temperature control. In the Winter months, they absorb heat and in the Summer, they deflect it. 

These shades are designed to fit snugly in place and provide complete coverage of the window space. Best of all, this product can be removed with ease. Moreover, it has a built-in loop strap to allow users to roll up and store the shields when not in use. 

Option #2: Fabric SunShades

For the folks looking for more budget-friendly options, there are a plethora of products that are fabric-based and can help to shield out the majority of the sunshine. While a small amount of light can still sneak through, these shades are twenty bucks or less for two window treatments. 

ShadeSox makes a Universal Car Side Window Shade that slides right over the rear side doors. This provides two layers of sun-shielding — one on the interior and one on the exterior sides of each window. Best of all, the windows can still open and close. This allows for a breeze, without the worry of too much sunshine or bugs sneaking in! 

The only caveat is that this product is made with 40D Nylon which is an absorbent material. Thus, if rain is in the forecast, this solution may be a little less than ideal.

Conversely, ZATOOTO offers magnetic front and rear side window shades! Installation takes seconds and everything remains inside the vehicle so you will be covered, rain or shine. These can also be easily removed and stored for later use. Again, as this is a fabric product, some light can still sneak through, especially since the edges of the fabric are not secured. 

Option #3: Window Tinting

Window Tinting is another method for limiting the light in your vehicle. For those who have this applied by a private company or a dealership, it can run you a couple of hundred dollars, but it is a much more permanent solution. However, just like the fabric solutions, professional window tinting will not completely block out the light from your vehicle.

In contrast, you also have the option of purchasing blackout window film and cutting out sections to custom fit your vehicle’s windows. This product utilizes static cling for its application, making it simple and reusable. It also guarantees blockage of 100% of the UV light. If you choose to use this method, then follow the same instructions detailed in Step #2 above to cut out the appropriate shape.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to crack a window while sleeping in a car? 

It is safe to sleep in a vehicle with the windows closed in certain instances such as when someone else is driving as well as when the car is parked and shut off. However, in the latter scenario, condensation can build up, making it a bit uncomfortable. Moreover, if there are multiple people sleeping in the vehicle at once, then carbon dioxide buildup can become a concern so extra airflow from outside is recommended. 

Therefore, double down on your window coverings to give you privacy and airflow. Utilizing blackout window film and one of ShadeSox’s Universal shades can allow you to crack the window while still keeping the space completely covered. This also removes the issue of bugs getting into the car. 

It is always best to keep the car engine off while sleeping, but if you choose to forgo this advice, it is imperative that you do it in an open environment and never in a garage or other enclosed space. This can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or death. 

What other items can I cover the car windows with for sleeping?

Other items that you can use to cover your car windows for sleeping are blankets, sheets, and aluminum foil. However, these methods make it much more obvious that you are using your car for shelter, making it a less ideal solution.

Is it illegal to sleep in your car?

This will vary based on the city and state that you are trying to conduct your car camping. Moreover, many locations that do allow this activity have time limits on how long you can sleep. It is important to always double-check the laws for your area before setting up camp in your car.

Final Thoughts

If you want to cover your car windows for sleeping, there are a variety of solutions available. It is important to consider if you want the ability to open your windows as well as if you want a temporary or a more permanent remedy. Additionally, analyze your budget and how often you intend to use these window coverings. 

Finally, safety should go hand in hand when taking shelter in any location. Privacy window coverings are designed to shield you from the outside world. That means you also lose the ability to see potential dangers. Thus, park your car in an area away from the road and heavy traffic and always uncover the windows and look outside before exiting the vehicle.

Author

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren