You may have heard that you should not use a snowsuit, a bulky coat or a bunting bag in the car seat. What is the risk? How can you keep your child warm AND safe in the car this winter? As soon as the cold weather begins each year, Child Safety Link starts getting these questions from parents.
Here is what we tell them:
Why can’t my child wear a snowsuit or a bulky coat in the car seat?
In a crash, the harness keeps your child safely inside the car seat. If you add a snowsuit or a bunting bag, the bulky padding can squish down in the moment of a crash and make the straps too loose.
Bulky coats can also change how the harness is placed on your child’s body. For an older child in a booster seat, the seat belt should fit across the strongest bones. The lap belt should be low on the hips with the shoulder belt snug across the chest. With a bulky coat or snowsuit under the belt, the lap belt slides up on the soft belly. This could really hurt your child in a crash. Try unzipping your child’s coat so that the belt stays low and snug across the hips.
How do I keep my child warm in the car seat?
Dress your child in light layers. Fleece is a good top layer for keeping heat in without being too bulky under the harness or seat belt. Add hats, mitts and boots. You can add blankets over top, after your child is safely buckled.
How can my child be warm without a coat when it is REALLY cold?
Remember, kids can wear a coat or jacket in the car – just not a bulky or puffy one. Dress your child in light layers that don’t add too much bulk.
Kids can wear their puffy coats over top of these layers on the way to the car. Once they are safely buckled, help them wear their coat backwards over their arms to stay warm.
Kids can kick the blankets and coats off once the car heats up so that they don’t get too hot. Parents can remove the blankets for younger babies who can overheat.
It all boils down to this: We all want to keep our kids warm AND safe in the car this winter. With light layers UNDER the straps and warm blankets or covers OVER the straps, you can do just that!
Do you have more car seat questions?
We can help! Check out our wide range of car seat information resources on our website here, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news, tips and trends, email us here, or call us at 1-866-288-1388 (toll free in Atlantic Canada only). Safe travels!