January 22, 2020
Keep Your Baby Warm and Safe in their Car Seat this Winter
By: Cara Terreri | 2 Comments
Frigid outdoor temperatures can make it worrisome for parents who want or need to take their new baby out of the house. Our instincts tell us we should bundle up baby before strapping them in the car seat and going outside. The problem is, car seats become unsafe when there are extra layers, padding, and bulk in between the straps and baby. In the event of a crash, that extra bulk compresses (shrinks down), creating space under the straps that allows baby to move too much, which can cause severe injuries.
According to The Car Seat Lady, a puffy coat or snowsuit can leave between 2-4 inches of slack in a car seat strap. She says, "Not convinced that 4 inches is a lot of slack? Imagine wearing pants that are 4 inches too wide in the waist to a job interview, or walking a puppy with a collar that is 4 inches too wide at the neck, or putting your newborn in diapers that are 4 inches too wide at leg holes."
So how do you keep baby warm and safe when you have to venture out by car in the cold? The good news is that there are plenty of ways to keep your baby warm while practicing car seat safety. The tips below come from resources provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics website, HealthyChildren.org, and The Car Seat Lady. These tips can and should be practiced with newborns, infants, babies, toddlers, and children of all ages in car seats.
- Warm your car in advance, but only if it's safe to do so.
- Give yourself plenty of time to prep yourself, your baby, and drive safely in snowy or icy conditions.
- Dress baby in 2-3 thin layers, like a tight-fitting long underwear or onesie, add pants and a thermal shirt on top, then a thin fleece jacket on top. Don't forget a hat.
- Know the "pinch" rule. If you can pinch any amount of the car seat strap in your fingers when it's buckled on baby, it's too loose. They should fit snug against baby's chest.
- Use things you already own to keep baby warm over the car seat straps, like blankets and jackets. Be sure to keep baby's airways clear -- the item should be tucked in around baby snug to keep in warmth and to prevent covering baby's face. Older children can also wear a coat backwards, over the straps of course, after being buckled.
- Purchase a car seat cover that is made for winter, but only if it does not require putting a layer under your baby. You should never put anything between baby's body and the straps, even if it claims to be made "safe" for car seats. Even if your favorite retailer is selling it, it doesn't mean it's been crash tested with the car seat.
Learn more tips, including the many safe items on the market as well as more tips and tricks at The Car Seat Lady.
TagsNewborn Infants Car Seats Car Seat Safety Winter Weather Safety