This post may contain affiliate or referral links which means I may earn a sales commission. Please see my full affiliate disclosure here.
We all want our kids to be warm in the car seat, but any car seat expert will tell you not to put your child in a puffy coat while in a car seat. A puffy coat or snowsuit can puff out a good inch or two from the body, which means that there is an inch or two worth of slack between your child and the harness. It may not seem like it when you are driving, but during a violent impact, the material in the coat compresses and could cause your child to be ejected from the car seat. This is a serious safety issue that many parents still aren’t aware of.
Before you say, “But I live in a cold climate and my child will freeze”, my children have survived both New England and Colorado winters without wearing a coat in the car without any problems or complaints of being cold. Also, once the car warms up, think about how uncomfortable you would be in a snowsuit. Your child also gets too hot.
Here are our favorite tips for keeping the kids both warm and safe.
This has been my solution for the past five years with my youngest son. Polar fleece pullovers are nice and warm but are thin so they won’t compress in a crash.
Wear their coat backwards
This is another thing I’ve done with both of my kids. Once your child is safely buckled into the car seat, put their coat on them backwards over the harness. I do this most often on really cold days when a fleece isn’t enough to keep warm. We wear the coat to the car, take it off to buckle the harness, then put it back on over the harness.
Similar to the backwards coat trick, keep a blanket in the car or wrap your baby in the blanket to go from the house to the car then cover them up once they’re buckled in. There are also blankets made specifically for use in car seats, or you can make one yourself if you’re crafty.
Finally, for preschoolers and older kids, this is my new and favorite alternative to the blanket and the coat…
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner! With a kid-sized Snuggie, they are covered in warm fleece like a blanket, but still have use of their hands. They have more mobility than using their coat backwards and it is the perfect solution to the dilemma of keeping warm in the car seat.