Here is an area that is new to me as a grandmom. Keeping a baby warm in a car seat can be a problem.  Bulky coats and buntings are not safe because they make the safety straps too loose.

Winter Coats and Car Seats
Jen Ellis, a mother and certified Child Passenger Safety Technician from Meridian, Idaho, makes a point each winter to educate parents in online forums about winter coats and car seat safety.

“It is unsafe to put a thick coat, snowsuit, or blanket on under the harness of a car seat,” Ellis says. “In a crash the coat would compress, making the straps too loose and possibly allowing the child to be ejected from the seat.”

The car seat harness needs to stay close to the child’s body at all times. All coats and clothing will compress in a crash, but thicker winter coats and snowsuits could compress enough to create a lot of slack in the harness, allowing the child to be ejected from the car seat.

Check All Winter Coats for Car Seat Safety
It’s easy to check and see whether a baby’s coat or snowsuit is too thick to be safe in a car seat. This test will show you how thick the coat is and how much the coat will compress during a crash.

  1. Take the car seat into the house.
  2. Put the winter coat or snowsuit on the baby.
  3. Put the baby in the car seat and buckle the harnesses as you normally would before car travel. Adjust the straps to the appropriate fit for your child.
  4. Take the child out of the car seat without loosening the straps at all.
  5. Take the coat off your child.
  6. Put the child back in the car seat and buckle the harnesses again, but do not tighten the straps.
  7. If you can fit more than two fingers under the harness at the child’s shoulder bone, the coat is too thick and is not safe for use with the car seat.

Since bulky winter outer gear is not good, what is the best thing to do to keep a baby warm in a car seat? The simplest thing to do is wrap the baby in a blanket and tuck it in securely after you have the baby securely in the car seat but you run the risk of the blanket falling off and leaving the baby uncovered.  Experts suggest that a “shower cap” type cover is safest to use in a car seat.  This type of cover does not interfere with the safety harness and can be put over the baby to keep them warm. Any car seat cover that goes under the harness is not safe. There are several types of covers like this but here are the ones that have been most recommended by moms and grandmoms.

Jolly Jumper Sneak a Peak Arctic

car seat cover

Jolly Jumper Arctic

This one seems to be the top choice of many. The outer layer is made from nylon and is waterproof. The inside is lined with super warm fleece to keep heat inside and there is even an attached blanket that can be wrapped around the baby. (blanket is removable) This carrier gives you lots of options to adjust the temperature by zipping everything up or keeping the middle flap unzipped on warmer days. The whole thing can be thrown in the washer and dryer.

 Cozy Cover

car seat cover

Cozy Cover

This is also a good choice and less expensive then the Jolly Jumper.  It has two zippers for easy access, a really soft lining and a waterproof outer layer. It also goes on as a shower cap to keep the baby safe.