As the temperatures drop, the warm layers pile on. Soon, your kiddos will be off to school or daycare with thick puffy coats and cozy knit hats. There will be a fresh blanket of snow over the ground, and you’ll see your breath fogging in your frigid car.
But bundling up for winter isn’t as easy as grabbing a few layers and darting out the door—especially with kids! So, today we’ve dedicated this post to bundling up safely this winter. Here are some tips to keep you and your family warm AND safe this season:
How to Bundle Up for Winter Weather
Dress warm, but not bulky.
If you have young kiddos, avoid bulky or puffy coats in the car seat (even seemingly thinner water resistant coats too sometimes!). These coats compress in an accident and create dangerous gapping between the child and the harness straps. This means your child will not be effectively protected in a crash!
In order to keep your child warm and safe, learning to layer for winter appropriately will be the best way to keep everyone comfortable. The child’s base layer could simply be a thermal long-sleeve shirt, long underwear, or a onesie. Then, the outer layer should be no thicker than a sweatshirt. Fleece works great because it’s thin and warm.
This same rule goes for bottoms and Halloween costumes! These clothing items can’t be too bulky under the harness straps. If you’re concerned about whether your child’s car seat coat is too thick, do the coat test. This will give you confirmation your child’s cold weather outfit is safe and snug!
What your child wears in the seat matters. A small change, like a winter coat, can mean big consequences. Put your child’s winter coat to the test and learn how to keep them warm in the seat without compromising their safety. A coat, or insulating jacket, in car seat must be safe.
Use blankets and ponchos.
If you’re worried how to keep baby warm in car seat, use blankets. You can use any thickness of blanket and lay it over the harness straps after the child is safely buckled in. Then, just tuck to keep that baby nice and warm, and this layer protects them from the chill. A poncho works great too, because you don’t have to worry about it falling off and onto the floor as you drive down the road.
You can use this same tip for strollers and car seats! No matter how cold it is outside, you can layer up safely using ponchos and blankets instead of thick, puffy coats. The next time you organize your car, add some dedicated car seat blankets to your system!
Put on a hat.
Hats are a great way to keep you and your child warm on chilly days. Without a hat, you’ll be losing heat from your head, which can lower your body temperature over time. The same goes for your baby! So, don’t forget to add a thin, well-fitted hat to your cold weather clothes.
If you’re driving, however, consider how long you’ll be in the car. If the car quickly heats up and you have a lengthy drive, the hat might contribute to overheating. So, definitely keep an eye on your kiddo to ensure they’re still comfortable as the temperature rises inside your vehicle!
Remember, aftermarket car seat lining isn’t safe.
As cold temperatures rush in, it can be tempting to pick up thick, soft sherpa car seat lining to keep your baby warm. However, these are totally not safe for car seats! Any aftermarket car seat accessory isn’t safe. This is especially true if the harness straps must be woven through it. Just say no! Opt for a blanket or poncho instead.
If your car seat coat requires harness threading, don’t use it.
There are a lot of car seat coats marketed today. At the core, we love the idea! But, if the coat requires you to thread the harness straps through the jacket, don’t use it. No car seat manufacturer permits this, and it could mean danger for your rider.
Buckle Me and One Kid are two companies that have car seat coat options that don’t thread through the straps. If you’re interested in car seat coats, grab one of these! Just make sure the coat fits appropriately—avoid sizing up—and still passes the coat test. Check out our Coupons and Codes Page for some more!
On wet, cold days where the wind is blowing and the snow or sleet is coming down, a poncho or blanket might not be enough. If your child is still in an infant car seat, use an insulated cover to keep your child warm and dry.
Use insulated covers when towing an infant car seat.
Remember, these car seat covers shouldn’t need threading and shouldn’t cover the inside lining. Ones that fit over the top of the car seat like a shower cap are best! These will keep baby safe, while also protecting them from the elements. Just make sure to open or remove them when it’s time to ride in the car.
Use your noggle!
If your vehicle doesn’t have vents in the back, or it just takes too long to heat up, use a noggle! A noggle is a long tube that connects to your air vent and transports the air to the back of the vehicle. With this device, you can be assured that your backseat passengers will stay warm the whole trip!
Let your car warm up if you can.
If it’s possible to safely let your car warm up for any period of time, do it! It’ll make it easier to dress you and your child appropriately without having to stop and strip down. Also, that warm up time can take care of frosted windows, cold seats, and frozen vehicle fluids. Everything will run better, including you, if your car gets the chance to warm up!
Keep yourself safe too.
Now you know not to add bulky layers under your child’s car seat harness. Can you wear a jacket in car seat? The same applies to adults and booster riders using the seatbelt! A puffy coat adds space between your body and the seatbelt, and space means more movement during a hard stop or a crash. Follow these layering tips: remove outer layers before you buckle yourself in, so that the seatbelt fits properly right against your body. Everyone in the car will be safest this way!
Don’t remove layers while driving.
If you get hot while driving, pull over or change the heat controls. Do not remove your hats, gloves or coat while driving. And, especially, don’t try to remove your child’s garments while cruising down the road! Distracted driving is extremely dangerous. Even more dangerous when it involves taking your hands or eyes off the road!
Layer up all over!
In extreme cold, it’s important to cover all parts of your body (also avoid dry skin!). Don’t forget to add layers of insulation or synthetic insulation to your head, feet, hands, and even face if necessary. Of course, this is also true for your little ones. Warm socks (think wool socks that regulate body heat), the right shoes, quality gloves, a good hat, and a carefully placed scarf can help keep you warm and safe when the temperature drops.
It’s important to prioritize safety when bundling up this winter season!
Winter safety is important. Car seat safety is just as important. Because of this, it’s necessary to consider both factors when clothing yourself and your children for the day. Simply, layer clothes safely while keeping the vehicle’s temperature well-regulated. And, of course, never compromise car seat safety in favor of big, puffy jackets and outer shell aftermarket accessories. Instead, opt for these 100% safe winter clothing choices from my Amazon Shop. And if you’re looking for more information on car safety, check out this Amazon Live on all things Winter Safety in the car.
If you’re unsure of safe car seat practices, definitely check out the rest of our blog and our Instagram for more information. We also have a YouTube video to check if your child’s winter coat is safe to wear in the car.
There’s a lot to know about car seat safety, and the information isn’t very accessible. With us, you get all the trusted information you need, right at your fingertips! For now, stay safe in the seat and safe this next season with these winter weather tips!
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