Getting babies from point A to point B gets harder when the temperatures plummet. Gone are the days of throwing an extra diaper and bottle in a diaper bag and heading out for a Target trip. When it’s cold, you’ve got to consider exactly how you’re going to keep your kids warm and safe.  

You may be asking: “What do you mean? Don’t you just put them in a coat?” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. It’s incredibly unsafe to have a puffy, bulky traditional winter coat underneath car seat harness straps. In the event of an accident, the coat would compress, creating dangerous space between your baby and the protective car seat straps. 

So, instead, you’ve got to keep baby warm strategically! Today, we’re sharing how you can safely keep your baby warm in their car seat. We’ll share some tips as well as some recommended products to get you through winter. Let’s dive right in!

How to Keep Baby Warm in Car Seat?

Dress baby in thin fleece layers.

Fleece is a great clothing option for chilly winters since it doesn’t compress and it’s still pretty warm. You can dress your baby in one or two thin fleece layers safely for your frigid road trips. Zip-ups, well-fitting thin bunting suits, or sleepers all work well for layering. 

Don’t forget hats and gloves. 

Hats and gloves are a must for keeping your baby warm on the walk out to the car, the ride itself, and the trek to your destination. Hats and gloves don’t come in contact with the harness straps, so there is no safety concern there. 

However, make sure the child’s hat fits snugly to avoid it falling over their face while you drive. Also, ensure that if it’s a longer drive, you pull over and remove these items once the car starts to get hot. 

You might be able to quickly remove your outer layers at a stop sign (though you shouldn’t), but your baby is stuck and snug in their seat with all their gear. Consider these factors with the length of your drive and use a car seat mirror

Swaddle baby. 

If you have a newborn who loves to be swaddled, you can actually swaddle them in the car seat after you’ve buckled them safely. Not only will this allow you to add additional layers of warmth, but it’ll soothe baby for the duration of the car ride! Check out this link for instructions on how to safely swaddle your infant.

Drape a blanket or poncho over them.

Once babies are over the swaddle stage, you can opt for blankets and ponchos over the car seat harness straps combined with those thin layers of fleece to keep them warm in the car. The best part about blankets and ponchos is they allow you to add bulk without any danger to your baby. You can get whatever thickness of blankets and ponchos you need to keep your infant warm. 

Opt for a car seat coat.

Some of you out there live in really cold climates, and you genuinely need your child in a proper winter coat or snowsuit. Luckily, there are coats out there that are designed to fit under the harness straps without any dangerous interference. These coats fasten over the harness straps, so they don’t pose the same risk in an accident.

Not all car seat-marketed coats are created equal. Some are woven through, which violates car seat safety standards. Below, we’ll share our recommended car seat coat!

Push the warm air to the back with a Noggle.

Getting heat to the back of the vehicle can be difficult depending on the car type and maintenance issues. If you struggle to get the heat where it needs to be, consider getting a Noggle! It’s a unique device that attaches to your front vehicle vents and directs the hot air to the back seats. No more baking in the front seat while the kids shiver in their seats. 

Use an approved cover when the car seat is off the base. 

What about when you’re towing your car seat? A car seat cover can keep your baby covered and protected from the elements. But not any car seat cover will do. Anything that needs to be looped through the harness straps isn’t safe or approved by the car seat manufacturer. 

Instead, grab a winter car seat cover that stretches over the top of the infant car seat like a shower cap, rather than weaves through it. You can find car seat covers that differ in weight and style too. Find the best one for your lifestyle on our Amazon Shop

What Should Baby Wear in Car Seat in Winter?

Here are some of our top car seat wearables for winter. We’ll link to our favorite products and explain why we love them! Here we go:

Buckle Me Baby Coat

The brand that sells car seat coats that actually keep your baby warm and safe in a car seat is Buckle Me. This brand fits the coat over the harness straps for optimal safety. Plus, the lining is very warm, the velcro makes it easy to fasten, and the whole coat is machine washable. 

Amazon holds sizes up to 6T, and if you want something seriously warm, check out their snowsuits. Those too are safe for the seat! Make sure to order true-to-size, and avoid the temptation to size up, because extra fabric defeats the purpose of these smartly designed coats. The good news is their sleeve cuffs extend so you can get two years of use out of this year’s size!

Car Seat Poncho

Blankets are tempting because you already have them lying around. However, blankets fall off easily, especially if you have a kicker. Ponchos make sure the warm covering stays in position, and you’re not pulling over every ten minutes to fix it. The one we’ve attached even has sleeves to make sure the arms stay covered even when they start moving around. 

Fleece Jumpsuit

This fleece jumpsuit is perfect because it’s really an all-in-one. It’s footed, has fold-over mittens, and a hood. You could have your baby wear just this, or you could have them in a long thermal or fleece sleeper underneath. Layer up with fleece as many times as you need to for safety! 

This specific jumpsuit comes in sizes from newborn – 9 months. It comes in three cute colors on Amazon too. For more sizes and colors, head over to Carter’s website. If you prefer a bunting suit without the feet and hands, try this one from Columbia!

Infant Car Seat Cover

This is the safe car seat cover we were discussing earlier. It’s not the only one out there, but we love that this one is insulated, moisture repellant, machine washable, and it unzips in several ways. You can have it with the baby’s face poking out, with an entire side unzipped, or with it unzipped altogether. This allows for optimal temperature control and safety. 

Note: You cannot have the cover zipped while the infant car seat is connected to the base. To keep baby visible while you’re driving, make sure they’re completely unzipped. 

Enfant Baby Car Seat Wrap

Remember when we mentioned that you can swaddle your baby in their car seat? You could do that with regular blankets, or you could use it with this device! It wraps all around your child’s torso, arms, legs, and head for a super snug fit. 

If you’re having trouble fitting more layers while still allowing your baby movement, this is a great choice. They can stay snug in the seat, but be free to move when you remove them from the car seat. With this wrap, you can still safely tighten the harness straps without any gapping. It’s been proven to not interfere with any child safety restraint system! 

Keep baby warm and safe in their seat with these winter riding tips!

If you’ve been stressed about bundling your baby up for winter, stress no more. This guide should give you all the tools you need to keep your infant warm while riding in the winter. For older kids, check out this post on bundling up.

To be extra safe in the car this winter, make sure you assemble a seasonal emergency kit using our list of best winter products. Let’s make sure your vehicle and the people who ride in it are prepared. Now is the time to stock your vehicle for anything from flat tires to flurries to frozen roads. In this YouTube video, I walk through my recommended products to keep the outside, inside and riders of your vehicle safe. Better to be prepared than to panic!

What You Need to Stay Safe this Winter

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We hope you found this content helpful! For more tips, tricks, and vital information on car seat safety, follow us on Instagram and browse our blog. We’ve got tons of content that delivers only the truth about car seat safety! It’s not just our goal to keep kids warm and comfortable on their road trips, but our aim is to keep every child safe in their seats with every ride.

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