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Winter Coats & Car Seats: What is safe?

Written by Anica Vujanic

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Posted on October 14 2022

With the winter fast approaching in New England we get a lot of questions about what a baby should wear when riding in their car seat. 

As a rule of thumb, puffy clothing, including winter coats and snowsuits, should not be worn underneath the harness. This is because, in case of an impact, the padding immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space underneath the harness allowing a child to move more than they should, causing potential injury. The car seat harness needs to stay as tight as possible on the child's body - at all times - in order to protect them properly. 

Below are some tips on how to keep your baby safe & warm during the colder days. 

TIP #1: LAYER UP

The layer next to the skin should be close-fitting, such as tights, leggings or a long-sleeved footie. Use lighter-weight pants and a shirt or sweater as the next layer and don't forget to put on a hat, mittens, and booties to keep head, hands, and feet warm as these won't interfere with the straps.

TIP #2: WARM UP THE CAR

if you can, warm-up your vehicle before you go. Also, keep the carrier portion of your infant seat indoors so it isn't cold when you put your child into it. Make sure you take off bulky coats or snowsuits before buckling the car seat. 

TIP #3: ADD SOMETHING ON TOP 

Once your child is snug as a bug in their car seat (harness passes the pinch test), you can cover them with a light blanket tucked around the sides. You can also use one of the tested car seat covers that stretch around the car seat and have an opening on the front such as the UPPAbaby Mesa Cozy Ganoosh or 7 A.M. Car Seat Cocoon. You can also put the child's coat on backward to keep them warm without compromising safety. As the car heats up, remember to remove a blanket so your child doesn't overheat.

Last but not least - make sure nothing is behind the child's back. No portion of the blanket or car seat cover should be behind your child's back as this would interfere with the snugness of the harness straps. 

Stay warm & safe!

Watch our IG video on why you shouldn't use bulky clothing underneath the harness straps. 

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