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It’s happened…the first snowfall of the season. A pre-Halloween trick Mother Nature placed on us in which she seems to have forgotten what season we were in. With that comes the digging out of all the dreaded winter gear. The time it takes to now get everyone out the door has doubled and if your children are anything like mine the thought of stuffing them into a car seat in their padded winter coats is anxiety provoking. Not only does it cause them stress to be smooshed like little sardines into a seat, but it’s anxiety provoking for us parents because the reality is it isn’t safe! Winter car seat safety needs to discussed because the repercussions are too costly not to.
The Stakes Are High…
There are on average 3,287 car fatalities a day! A DAY! According to the CDC, 663 children ages 12 and under died as occupants in a car in 2015. Now as a mom who is ultra-paranoid about her children a.k.a. has some major “mom-xiety” I need to add that 35% of those kids were not even buckled up! It is so important to be educated on car seat safety.
A Push for Correct Installation
I’ve found that people are much more informed on the importance of correctly installing your car seat. It was even a focus the other morning on the Today Show. And there are valuable resources to help make sure car seats are correctly installed. In fact, Cars.com gives you get tips and tricks for installation. And as an added precaution, you can always schedule a car seat check in your area to double check that it is installed properly.
What people aren’t talking about is winter car seat safety! As a Midwesterner, this is super important to me.
Here me out…I am not going to say to take the baby to the store without a coat in negative three-degree weather.
It’s cold. Trust me, I know. I don’t want my babies exposed to that cold either, but there are other ways to be safe in these frigid winter months. Frankly, a big bulky coat and a car seat can be a deadly combo. Often what happens is the harness becomes too loose and therefore doesn’t restrain the child in a crash.
Put it to the Test
Those that are a little skeptical right now I challenge you to do this little test. Put your child, winter coat and all, in the car seat and tighten the harness until you can’t pinch any excess from the straps. Now without loosening it, unbuckle the straps and have your child take off their coat. Put them back in the seat and see how it fits. If you can now pinch the straps when it is buckled that means that the coat is too bulky to be safe. What happens in a crash is that under impact the coat compresses and all that excess room makes it so that the child is no longer restrained.
What Other Options Are There Besides Giving My Child Hypothermia?!
- Put a blanket over the child in the car.
- Once the child is buckled in the car seat, put the coat on backward so that their arms are in the armholes and the back of the coat acts like a blanket.
- A car seat poncho coat
I don’t want to be taking coats on and off because frankly, it takes too long with three kids under the age of five. We would NEVER make it to preschool unless we got ready and left an hour before school started. My vote is for the car seat poncho.
There are so many different Pinterest instructions on how to make your own. In fact, I’m thinking this will be my next craft night project. I just searched “car seat poncho” and found the CUTEST plaid one!!!
They are basically a fleece blanket with a hole for your head. Fancy ones even have a hood. When they are in their car seat you just flip the back up and buckle them in under the poncho.
Check out our ponchos! I’m in LOVE with them and we get compliments on them all of the time! And after two different trips to the WI Dells I can tell you that they make amazing swimsuit coverups too!
It’s a winter car seat safe alternative that keeps the kids warm! That’s a win for everyone!
How do you battle the cold but keep kids safe at the same time? Share your thoughts and tips with us in the comments!