Skip to main content
Coat and car seat

Baby it’s cold outside: Coats and Car Seats

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?

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 could slide up on the soft belly.  This could really hurt your child in a crash.  Unzip 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.

For infants, you can add a blanket or a cover that goes over top of an infant car seat like a shower cap. (Some car seat companies still recommend you remove a shower-cap style cover when the seat is in use in the car.) 


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.

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.


coat and car seat 2017
Older child in winter


Sharable images and messages

Download PNG file: Facebook / Twitter size
English: Baby in the car
English: Older Kids in the car

Français: bébé d'hiver
Français: enfant d'hiver


Baby in winter in the car - 2022

© 2023 IWK Child Safety Link. All rights reserved.