The temperature is dropping and winter coats are making an appearance. It is important to keep your children warm AND safe in the car. Wearing a winter coat in the car seat is not safe at all. Why is this not safe? When your child is wearing a big bulky jacket in the car seat, even if the straps are tight, it creates slack which will cause your car seat straps to not work properly in the event of a crash. You might think your childs car seat straps are tight enough when they are wearing a winter jacket, but when an accident happens, the jacket compresses with the force of the crash and can cause minor or major injuries, including your baby being ejected from the car seat.
Bunny looks nice and warm and strapped in tightly. Her chest clip is where it should be, and there is no slack in her straps. I can not pinch her straps. They are nice and snug.
This is Bunny without the jacket on. I have not adjusted the straps at all. Do you see how much slack there is?! These straps are definitely NOT safe. If Bunny was riding around like this and we got in an accident, I am afraid to know what would happen.
This is Bunny after I removed her jacket and tightened her car seat straps. Can you see the difference? There is no slack, her straps are nice and snug against her body.
We are lucky to live in a mild climate where it doesn’t snow and doesn’t get very cold. It is easy for me to have Bunny wear a light jacket or a warm outfit on top of her clothing. Whenever it is raining or extremely cold, I always make sure to take Bunny’s jacket off in the car before she gets in the car seat. Another thing I do to keep her warm in the car is layer her up. Bunny normally wears baby leggings under her pants and a onsie under her shirt. If you have an older child, that may not work for you. We have used a blanket on TOP of the straps before, and that is a good option for older children. A light fleece jacket is okay to wear while in the car seat. It is not bulky enough to hinder the performance of your car seat.
It is important to keep your child warm in winter, and it is equally important to keep them safe in the car. For an infant you can layer them like I do Bunny, with onsies, shirts, long socks or baby leggings, and pants. Even throwing a warm outfit on top of their clothing while you go out would be great. Blankets on top of car seat straps are also wonderful options. Never put anything bulky between your childs body and their car seat/car seat straps. We spent a ton of money on a safe car seat that allows us to rear face until Bunny is three or four. I would hate to get in an accident and have Bunny get injured because we were not using the car seat properly. Car seats and winter coats do not mix!
Outfits like these are what we use instead of a thick winter coat. Bunny has on a complete outfit underneath these outfits. This helps to keep her warm without all the bulk.
Here is an article by consumerreports.org on the danger of winter coats when used in a car seat.