Winter coats and car seats

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MissyJ's picture
Joined: 01/31/02
Posts: 3206
Winter coats and car seats

Question for the Answer Box: We live in an area with harsh winters. I heard that it isn't safe for kids to wear winter coats in their car seats as we have done with our older ones. There is no way for me to warm the car to a suitable temp before we get in. How do you keep kids safe from dangerously cold temps *and* in the car?

BokkieNYC's picture
Joined: 08/15/11
Posts: 1106

It is safer to tuck a blanket or two over the car seat straps rather than keep the puffy winter coat on the child. The coats can create a false sense of how tight the straps are and then in the event of a collision there may be too much "give" and your child willnnotvbe restrained sufficiently.

This article demonstrates how drastic the different is if straps are tightened while wearing a puffy coat vs not: Winter Coats and Car Seats | Car Seat Safety - Consumer Reports News

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

I want to add to this question.

If you don't put them in with their coats on, at what age do you leave their coats on?

I do know the risks but I leave the coat on and just try to tighten the seat as much as I can each time (in the infant seat they get a cover with no coat). I did try it for while when I had one kid but then we ended up with fights about putting the jacket on and/or the blankets were too cold after coming out from the store etc. I have lived in a few places with kids and never seen anyone do this so I'm also curious about if people do it in your area. Does anyone do this in an area where it is below -20 for most of the winter?

BokkieNYC's picture
Joined: 08/15/11
Posts: 1106

Very good follow up questions!

Unfortunately I'm waiting on my first child so have no advice, but will be interested in this one.

indianajones's picture
Joined: 01/21/07
Posts: 1486

These are good questions, and I understand the logic behind it, but it is sometimes difficult to carry out in practice! I try to get warm but non-puffy coats for my kids, and many people say they use a fleece jacket for the kids to wear. If they do have a puffy coat, once they are in the carseat and buckled, they can put their arms through with the coat on backwards to help keep them warm, or cover with a blanket.

I've sworn many times in the last two weeks that our next car will have a remote starter, so I can get the car warm before trying to bundle the kids into their seats! :biglaugh:

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4099

"indianajones" wrote:

These are good questions, and I understand the logic behind it, but it is sometimes difficult to carry out in practice! I try to get warm but non-puffy coats for my kids, and many people say they use a fleece jacket for the kids to wear. If they do have a puffy coat, once they are in the carseat and buckled, they can put their arms through with the coat on backwards to help keep them warm, or cover with a blanket.

I've never lived anywhere that's *really* cold but this is what we do when we visit the snow. And the blanket comes inside with us whenever feasible. When my sister lived in Germany, she would plug in an electric blanket to warm up while getting the kids ready, so it would be nice & toasty to cover them in the car.

ETA: And always wear a hat! Keeping your head warm helps the rest of your body stay (or at least feel) warmer. Kids seem to want to snatch their hats off in the car, but remind them to keep them on!

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