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Car Seat Safety: Does Your Baby Wear a Coat in the Car?

by Suzanne Murray on January 27, 2009 at 7:58 AM


Every day, I put a pink puffy winter jacket on my baby girl and then I put her in her car seat, and we go on our merry way. The thought never even occurred to me that I could be putting her in jeopardy. In fact, I thought I was being a good mom by protecting her from the cold. But then I read the post Winter Coats and Car Seat Safety that bwsmommy put up in the 2007 Babies group, which basically said that winter coats and car seats do not mix.

I want my baby to be safe—and warm. What to do? I talked to momof2luvsshoes, a member of Safe Kids who is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, and mom to two little boys, to get the facts about winter coats and car seat safety.

Is there a law about coats and car seats?
There is no law regarding this but rather a rule of thumb. 

So then it's okay for my baby to wear her cute puffy pink jacket in her car seat?
I don't recommend that anyone wear a coat while in a vehicle. Coats are hot, uncomfortable, and they interfere with seat belts and harness straps in car seats.

But is it actually unsafe for my baby to wear a coat?
Yes. I have done tests with my children in their car seats—with and without coats. I firmly believe that no coat is best. An easy way to visualize what happens to a baby if they have a puffy coat on during a crash is to put the baby in the car seat with the winter coat on and buckle him in as usual. You will most likely have to loosen the straps to do so correctly. Now, take the baby out and put him back in the car seat without the coat but do not adjust the straps and buckle him in again. You'll see how loose those straps are—if in a crash, a coat would compress and could allow the child to become a projectile object by slipping through those loose harness straps.

That makes me nervous. I know you said that coats in cars can be hot, but I'm not so sure—it's really cold when we get in my car. I definitely want to keep my baby nice and safe. But I really want to keep her nice and warm too. Do you have any recommendations that will keep her safe and warm?
A thin fleece, a wind jacket, sweatshirt, simple layering as long as it cannot be compressed. There are now car seat ponchos on the market. Plus, it’s always best to keep extra blankets in your vehicle while traveling. It is completely safe to put a blanket on the child once he or she is secure in the car seat and tuck it in on the sides. Another option is to secure the child in the car seat and then put their coat on them backwards.

Those are great options. Thanks momof2luvsshoes!
Glad I could help out.

How about you? Does your baby wear a coat or jacket in his or her car seat?


Check back here and on the other parenting channels all this week for more info on car seats.

This information is intended as general guidance—you should read your auto and car seat manuals, and consult a certified technician if possible, for the proper use and installation of your child’s passenger seat.

Filed Under: car seat safety

Comments

51
  • Belli...
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    BelliesMami

    January 27, 2009 at 8:10 AM

    She does. She is 2 and still rear facing and after reading this I think if I am going to take that precaution I should also take the precaution of taking her out of her coat too.  Thank you for the info! Car Seat safety is extremely important to me!


  • megkel
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    megkel

    January 27, 2009 at 8:15 AM

    Nope we live someplace where it's rarely terribly cold. The few times that she has to wear a big puffy jacket I just take it off once we have gotten to the car. She usually only wears a hoodie, but thanks for the info


  • JenB1983
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    JenB1983

    January 27, 2009 at 8:32 AM

    Neither of my kiddos wear coats in the car.....for that matter, I don't either.  We spent the last 3 winters in central Alaska, and are currently spending this winter in Northern Indiana...so I know cold.  LOL  I just go out and start my car to get some of the chill out before we leave.  We always wear long sleeve shirts and hoodies; hats, and gloves.  Once we get out to the car; I give them each their "car blankie"(one has Diego , the other Thomas); and they tuck them around each other and off we go.


  • MOM22QTS
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    MOM22QTS

    January 27, 2009 at 8:39 AM

    I tried taking my sons coat off and putting his coat on backwards..but he flipped out and took it off.

    I am going to def try to break the coat habit. I will go out this weekend and get them fleece, and also a car blanket.

     


  • Kryst...
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    Krysta622

    January 27, 2009 at 8:46 AM

    My kids wear thin jackets in the car.  I hate big puffy coats whether they are in the car or not.  I feel like they can't move in them.


  • MomEv...
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    MomEveryDay

    January 27, 2009 at 9:20 AM

    Sometimes my kids do.  I questioned the safety pf it myself, when my daughter's shoulder straps weren't fitting properly.  From now on, I'll warm the vehicle first, then from the house, we'll make a mad dash for it, carrying our coats.  LOL.  Then, for the long walk from the Jeep to the store, or where-ever we are going, they'll wear their coats.

    At first, it says she did some tests with her own kids.....I thought, "Is she NUTS?!"  Thank goodness she didn't mean what I thought!  Hahaha


  • MomEv...
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    MomEveryDay

    January 27, 2009 at 9:22 AM

    Just thinking, while we're running to the car, my old neighbors will be losing it.  LMAO.  "OH!  Did you see what she does to her poor kids?!"


  • Hlask06
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    Hlask06

    January 27, 2009 at 9:22 AM

    No. None of my children do, and I never have. I thought coats being dangerous in cars was common sense. Glad she posted this so other mommies know. We always keep blankets in our car and always have just insase we break down or something and have to walk- or wait for AAA or a pick up. If its real cold outside I always put like a thin sweater or wind jacket under thier coats and then take the coat off when we get in the car, but leave the jacket on.


  • Lorel...
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    Lorelai565

    January 27, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    NO WAY!  my pediatritian told me when my kids where newborns never put them in car seat with a coat on.  I keep blankets in my van no matter what.  I always felt better to be prepared for an emergency.  I keep extra cloths, and blankets in my van at all times.  So int he winter i go start the car get it warmed up then I cover my kids with the blankets and they are just fine.  I very rarely wear a coat in the car myself as i'm uncomfy and wind up to hot to keep it warm enough for my kids. 

    Nichole


  • pagirl71
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    pagirl71

    January 27, 2009 at 10:06 AM

    thin jackets yes but heavy bulky coats no. I just could never get any of my kids in a tight fit with winter coats on. They wore them too the car, i prewarmed the car, took the thick jackey off and threw a blanket over them.


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