You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

Winter coats and car seats don’t mix!

Keep your child safe!  Thick coats and car seats don’t mix!

The weather definitely feels like fall today!  I love fall weather, but that also means winter is coming.  Many parents ask me about cool weather, coats and car seats.  What can a parent do to keep their child warm and safe while traveling in a car seat?  Most winter coats simply are not safe for children in car seats.  Why?  Try this.  Dress your child in their winter coat and strap them in their car seat.  Remember, the harness straps should be tight enough that you can’t pinch any slack.  Now, take your child out of the car seat, remove the coat, and then without adjusting the straps, put your child back in the car seat.  Take a look at the straps, most likely they will be loose.  This is how loose the straps would be if you had a collision and the force of the collision collapsed the winter coat.  The result could be your child being ejected from the seat.  Scary thought!  So, even if the straps are tight over the coat, your child is not safe.

So how do you keep your child warm and safe? 


  • Dress your baby warmly in thin layers, (undershirt, long sleeve shirt, long pants and a hat).  Buckle your baby safely and securely in the car seat.  Then cover your baby with a blanket tucked into the sides of the car seat.  Do not put a blanket, or a fleece lining behind your baby, this can also compress during a crash resulting in the harness straps becoming too loose.  Lastly, you can put a heavier blanket over the top of the infant seat and head to the car.  You can remove the heavier blanket when the car is warmed up.
  • There are car seat covers that fit over the top of the whole infant car seat.  Once again, you should not have any extra bunting or cover behind your baby.  These covers go over the car seat after the baby is buckled safely and securely.  There is a peep-hole so the baby’s face is uncovered.  These will keep your baby toasty warm too!

Older Babies and Toddlers

  • Children that are in convertible car seats should be dressed warmly in thin layers (undershirt, shirt or sweatshirt, long pants).  Carry them to the car in their winter coat with it unzipped.  Remove the coat, place the child in the seat and buckle the harness straps securely.  Then you can put the child’s coat on backwards to keep them warm and safe.  If your child becomes too warm, the jacket is easily removed.  At your destination, unbuckle and put the winter coat on to leave the car.
  • When possible, you might warm up the car before putting your child in the vehicle.  (Be sure to warm it up with the garage door open).
  • Some polar fleece jackets will work fine in a car seat.  Remember to safety check the jacket by securely strapping your child in the seat with the jacket on, and then removing the jacket to see if there is slack in the harness straps
  • Keep extra blankets in the car to put over the top of your child if the car is chilly.  Extra blankets in the car during the winter are also a good idea in case you would ever be stranded in ice or snow.
  • Remember the safest way for your older baby or toddler to ride is rear facing until at least age 2.  Best to keep your child rear facing until he or she has outgrown the rear facing weight for your particular car seat.  That will be found in the manual.

So, cold weather is coming, but let’s keep our children both safe and warm in the car.  Remember, winter coats, car seats, and your child’s safety doesn’t mix.

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.



  1. Dana Owens

    THese are some really important tips. I just bought my twins new Winter Coats from Burlington Coat Factory to keep them warm this winter. They cost about $60 less than I had seen them for at the department store, so I bought a few fleece jackets as well for them to wear in the car. That way they can stay safe and warm this winter.


  2. Some really good points there!A lot of people still strap the kids to the car seat while they are dressed in their winter clothes…big mistake!



  1. Did you know this about car seats? « raisingkidswithlove

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