By The Safety Squad at Southwest Health –
The rule of thumb for coats in the car seat is typically, “if you have to loosen the straps in order for the coat-wearing child to fit, then the coat is too thick to wear in the car seat.” Adjust the straps to how the child would have them if they were wearing a simple t-shirt, and that’s as loose as the straps should be, regardless of what they’re wearing.
What this means is that winter coats really are not safe for car seats, because the car seat would not effectively restrain the child during a crash (a parent’s worst nightmare). So we’ve prepared some tips on keeping your child both safe and warm while traveling this winter.
- Have your child wear long sleeves or a very light jacket (one that doesn’t require loosening of the car seat straps).
- Wrap your littlest travelers in a blanket.
- Hats and mittens do a lot for keeping warmth in, so even though they will likely take them off the second they are in the car, still be sure to put those items on for the walk to the vehicle.
- Try a fleece poncho, which allows for buckling in underneath the poncho.
- Have them wear their coat backwards, unzipped. Once the child is in the car seat, you’ll have to slide it off quick to buckle, but you can then just slide their little arms right back in for extra warmth in the car.
As parents, our instinct is to keep our child as safe and comfortable as possible. Car seats during the winter months can make this a little more challenging, but what wouldn’t we do to keep our mini-me’s safe?