Keeping our children warm is always front and center in our minds through these frigid days, but bulky coats and snowsuits are a hazard to the effectiveness of a car seat. Thicker outerwear will quickly smash down in the event of a motor vehicle crash and the harness system that felt snug around the winter coat will become loose and may not hold your child in their seat.
Here are some tips to keep your child warm and safe when traveling in a vehicle:
• Allow enough time to warm up the car before putting your child in the car seat. (remember to only warm up a car outside of the garage to avoid a buildup of carbon monoxide)
• Keep the infant seat carrier inside the house in the winter so it stays room temperature – the base can stay installed in the car.
• Dress your infant in layers (tights, leggings, onesie first and closest to their body), then warm clothes. Place them in the seat, secure the harness snugly, then cover them with a blanket over top of the snug, closed harness system.
• Older children, dress in layers and warm clothes, place them in the seat and secure the harness snugly. Then turn their coat around and put it on backward with their arms through the sleeves with the coat acting as a blanket.
• Only use car seat covers that come with the car seat when purchased (they have been crash-tested with the seat), leave the baby’s face uncovered, and remember, nothing should come between the harness and your child except their clothes.
Remember to keep an emergency bag in your car in the event of bad weather or a roadside emergency. Include blankets, extra clothing, non-perishable snacks, water, flashlight, and extra gloves and hats.