Why You Shouldn't Use a Coat When Buckling Your Kids Up

Why You Shouldn't Use a Coat When Buckling Your Kids Up

Winter is upon us, and, as parents, it’s our job to keep our children safe. This could involve a great many steps, with anything from warmer clothes to defensive driving in the snow. But all of this isn’t enough on its own. When buckling up, you should avoid having your kids wear their coats as it could prove fatal in the event of a collision.

What’s Wrong With Coats?

Coats themselves aren’t a bad thing—in fact, they are a great way to keep your children warm and happy during the colder temperatures. Just don’t have your children wear their coat in the traditional way, while also being buckled in their car seat.

According to Consumer Reports, thick winter wear can prevent seat belt and car seat harnesses from functioning properly. Although the harness might fit fine, there’s too much empty space to move around in, and your child can slip forward or even free of the harness in the event of a car accident.

What difference does a couple inches really make, though? A whole lot, according to the Car Seat Lady, a popular online resource for car seat safety. The car seat lady cites the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute saying that the extra 4 inches in your child’s harness (caused by the bulky winter wear) greatly increases the risks of injury—particularly head injuries.

All parents wants their children to be as safe as possible, so read on for some surefire tips for keeping your children as safe, and as warm, as possible this winter.

Tips for Staying Warm and Safe

There are several options available to parents who want to keep their kids warm enough without wearing a puffy coat under their harness or seatbelt. Here are a few:

Saranoni Minky Luxury Receiving Blanket – Swirl/Lush – Light Pink/Gray

  • Small children and infants especially benefit from a blanket over their tightened harness, as they are subject to more heat loss than older children and adults. Looking for the perfect warm blanket for your car or elsewhere? We’ve got you covered with a simple Saranoni.
  • Thin layers can add up for a surprising amount of warmth. A cute sleeper with a thin jacket and socks does wonders for your baby. Just make sure that, despite the layers, you are still unable to pinch the webbing with your thumb and forefinger.
  • Backwards coats. All you have to do is buckle your child sans coat and tighten the harness accordingly, then put their coat on backwards for warmth and safety.
  • Aftermarket bundle accessories like this JJ Cole Urban Bundle Me infant car seat add-on. Just be sure that you contact the manufacturer to make sure anything you use is an approved accessory, otherwise it could void the car seat warranty.

If you follow these steps, your child will be that much safer as you drive in cold weather this season. And what parent doesn’t want that? You’ll find that you’ll be more prepared for cool temperatures, as well as any other potential bumps in the road. Safe driving to us all!

Featured Photo Credit: The Scobee family
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You reccomend people to take their child out of the home in cold weather to a cold car and car seat no coat on. Your are essentially talking about giving the child a cold or worse yet pneumonia or some other terrible illness. I would think this almost borders on child endangerment to tell everyone no coat at all.


Hello! We’re so sorry for the misunderstanding, but the recommendation was to not take them to the car without a coat on. Please place a coat on your child, remove it when you get to the car, buckle them into their car seat, and then replace the coat backwards on them (so the back of the coat will be over their body). This ensures that your child stays warm during their car ride while also fully buckled in their car seat and at no risk for being thrown out of the seat in case of a car accident due to extra space in the straps. Another option is to have your child wear a fleece jacket underneath their coat, so that when you remove the coat to put them in their car seat they still stay warm, as it should only take you a few minutes to buckle them up. A fleece or light jacket will not cause the same issues as a thick, puffy coat underneath car seat straps. Hope you have a wonderful day!

The Baby Cubby

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