Car seat safety is super important. We all know this. This means no wearing big winter coats while strapped into a car seat. That makes sense from a safety standpoint. But as someone who has lived in chilly climates I also know that, well, babies get cold!
Ideally, we could all warm up our cars and then load our babies, never exposing them to the chill. But that isn’t always feasible.
Where we live now doesn’t get too chilly, but I grew up in the midwest and spent three winters with kids living in a home with an outside parking place around the corner from where we lived. At one point I had to get a two and half-year-old and newborn twins out to the car by myself in freezing weather.
Even if you do have a warm garage to load up in once you are out you can’t just leave your kids in the store while you go warm up the car. So you need to be able to keep kids warm in a cold car.
Here are 5 tips to keep baby warm and safe in a car seat.
It is possible to meet your goal of keeping baby warm and safe in a car seat. Here are some options.
This is a go-to for anyone in cold weather. I loved layering my babies in long sleeve onesies under their shirts. It added extra warmth without a lot of bulk.
If we just had to run in and out of the car try adding an additional long sleeve t-shirt over top. It will be a little extra warmth that is easy to take off when you get to your destination. The same idea works for pants and socks (important if your baby isn’t walking and not wearing shoes yet.) Get a size up to help fit.
I don’t know about other babies, but mine have almost always pulled their hats right off. And before they were old enough to pull off their hats they would manage to twist around enough to get the hats in their eyes or just off anyway.
Hoodies help solve that problem. You can find cute, thin hoodies in baby sizes and I love them. Again they don’t add bulk that can impact car seat safety, but they offer up some head protection that stays in place. This also works on young toddlers who stubbornly remove their hats.
Backward Coats or Ponchos
These are a couple good coat-like options. You could look at car seat friendly coats. Or put your child’s coat on backward. If you are strapping your baby into a bucket seat in your house this is super easy to do there. Just strap your baby in and then put the coat on over the straps.
For a toddler in a convertible seat, you can put the coat on backward and just unzip when it is time to hop into the car seat. You have to take the arms out to strap them in, but at least you can take off one arm at a time instead of the whole coat.
A car seat poncho can easily be lifted to allow for the car seat straps to be secure and then put back over for warmth.
Utilize the car seat blanket. When I was pregnant with my son I bought some fleece from the fabric store with the plans to make little blankets for him. Well… that didn’t quite happen. But those fleece pieces are just fine as blankets on their own.
In the winter I keep a couple in the car. They are cute, warm, and easy to throw in the washer if they get dirty. I like having the fun fleece because my son liked his patterns and was happy to have it on him in the car. It is the ultimate no-sew blanket. Just get about three feet of fleece from the fabric store and you’re done!
If you know you have to leave your car out for a few hours and it is going to be super cold when you get back to it you can pick up a couple of little hand warmers to keep in the car. Activate one then wrap the fleece around it to keep it from getting too cold in your car while you are at your destination.
Consider a bundle me type car seat cover. I know, you aren’t supposed to add anything to a car seat but hear me out. There are safe car seat covers. For especially cold climates there are products that go around a car seat, kind of like a shower cap. They don’t go between your infant and the car seat straps, so they are safer. They are great for a baby who kicks off blankets.
There are kinds with thin fleece that do go between the child and the seat, forming a little sleeping bag. They are great if you are out and about with your child in their stroller or just carrying the bucket seat around. For babies, it is easier to use than a jacket. I also loved that I could tuck my baby’s burp cloth, lovie, etc. in it while we were walking about town, like a giant pocket.
These are just a few of the ways I have found to keep my kids warm and safe in car seats in freezing temperatures. Do you have any suggestions on other ways to keep kids warm while maintaining car seat safety?
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Great tips! I live in New England so I know how how freezing weather can get and make babies cold. Layers and blankets are my go to's for my baby.
Sunday 17th of December 2017
Great tips! I have used several of these over the years. Keeping baby warm is a must in this cold weather we just need to remember not to overheat them.
Saturday 16th of December 2017
loved these tips, its getting so cold and we need to keep our babies warmer. Full sleeved onesie and body warmers below their tee's were my favourite which I used to make my son wear when he was an infant.
Saturday 16th of December 2017
These are great tips. I had my first two kids in CA and never worried about this. Now I live in TN with a 6 month old who has to run the mommy taxi with me and it’s freezing!!!! The backwards jacket is brilliant!