Car Seat Safety: Why you Should Rethink the Winter Jacket in the Car
Puffy coats and snowsuits should not be worn in a car seat as they add approximately four inches of slack into the harness straps. If your child isn’t properly secured in their car seat, this can increase the risk of a serious injury. We don’t want our children to freeze either, so what’s the solution for this car seat safety issue?
Bundling your child up in layers is one of the best solutions to the car seat dilemma. The Car Seat Lady recommends, babies in the car should wear long sleeve onesies, undershirts and tights, leggings or long johns. For children in diapers, leg warmers are more beneficial than tights and leggings when it comes to diaper changes. For older children, long sleeve undershirts, tights, leggings and long johns will provide enough warmth.
Wearing well-fitted fleece is a valuable option. It traps heat, provides enough padding under a harness or seat belt and is comfortable. If your child wears a fleece jacket, hat, gloves and boots, they should be warm and safe.
A soft blanket is wonderful for winter. After properly buckling up your little one in the car seat, wrap a blanket around them. For extra coziness, put the blanket in the dryer for a few minutes before bringing it with you for the car ride. Always keep a few blankets in your car at all times as part of your winter vehicle emergency kit.
Putting the jacket on backwards (with the arms still through the armholes), is an applicable and safe way to bundle older children up. The jacket will still keep your child warm, without disrupting any safety protocols. It also allows for a little bit of wiggle room, for your child to remove the coat if they become too hot.
Wrapping a poncho around your child is another option. Ponchos do not obstruct the car seat harness and they will keep your child snug with no additional bulk. They are also good for stroller winter outings.
These are a few suggestions on how to transport your child warmly and safely during the winter months. It’s important to make sure there is no extra slack under the harness or seat belt. For more information on child car seats read our How to Install a Car Seat Correctly post.