The Holidays Are Coming!

…And with it comes cold weather, icy roads, snow and too many accidents!! Remember now in the cold to keep your little ones safe in their car seat!! xmasseat  No heavy jackets or snow suits!! If a knitted jumper or fleecy jacket isn’t enough, use an extra blanket in the car to cover them with after the harness is nice and snug. Many of you may not be aware of the above. You might be wondering what on earth I am on about even. hehe Well my friends, I am going to show you! What is a car seat friendly jacket and how do you know if the jacket/coat is car seat friendly? To answer that question I took to Instagram believe it or not. There I stumbled upon an American with EU car seats! (yes, that really did get my attention!) When asked about a ‘friendly car seat jacket’ was she answered:

” It should be compressible enough that you don’t have to make an adjustment to the harness (like loosening it a lot to make the coat fit.) Otherwise it’ll compress in an accident instead and leave too much slack in the  harness. Fleece also works because it won’t compress at all.”  – Kate Evans, CPST

You can follow Kate on Instagram @emkayie ! So what is an example of a none car seat friendly coat/jacket?  A none car seat friendly coat would be for example a snow suit, or a thick winter coat.: CIMG5950 You might recognise this baby, this is Sophia. You know, the daughter of the now famous Farrah from Teen Mom 2. This is screen captured from one of the early episodes of 16 and Pregnant. Now, there are some life threatening mistakes done here.

  • Baby is wearing a bulky snow suit.
  • Baby is not strapped in at all. (most likely because whoever put her in the seat couldn’t connect the harness and buckle it up..believe it or not I have seen this in real life. )
  • Only strapped in with the ‘chest clip’. (This is something that only US made car seats have, we do not have this in EU car seats. )
bulkycoats
Photocredit: http://tinylink.net/u4xhs

But what are the consequences of doing it wrong? Not too long ago now, there was a big news story circling around the web, especially amongst us who have a more then average interest in in-car safety. That’s right, I’m talking about 6 month old Gabriel who was flung from he’s car seat, flew 25 feet from the car and landed in the snow… The car seat itself also flew out of the car, the crash was quite bad, but when the help arrived on the scene it was reported that the baby was in he’s thick snow suit, and the harness in the car seat was still buckled!! Here is her full story‘Miracle Baby’ Thrown 25 Feet in Car Crash and Survives  Here is a demonstration made by Christie Haskell: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNGT9eBL_gg

But i live in…*Insert land of the Ice bear* ! It’s too cold to not wear a coat!

My friends, there are alternatives!! :DAnd that is what we are going to cover next.

Alternatives to a snow suit or and heavy coats are for example:

  • Knitted jumpers/suits (as my son in the top photo is showing off) , this with a hat and mittens on will actually keep the kids quite warm.
  • Keep a blanket in the car for cold days 408650_501685933177710_609601664_n
  • A fleece jacket
  • Zip the coat closed over the straps, not under :
Photo credit: http://tinylink.net/0phco
Photo credit: http://tinylink.net/0phco
  • It is often possible to start the car a few minutes before you fill it (say 5min? ), this way it’s not icy cold when the children get in it, but may even be starting to warm up.
  • A Car Seat Poncho! –  This is brilliant! I found a video for you on how to make your own, it’s a 10min long video where Leigha’sLife walks us through it. It looks extremely simple, I might actually try and get my mother in law to do this! (because I do not own a sowing machine. hehe) <<Video>>
  • Cosy Car Seat Cover – “This stylish cover allows your childs car seat safety harness to be used correctly whilst keeping baby warm and snug” – Note though that this product s only suitable for infant car seats.
  • The Morrch Car Seat Hoodie – This is a very big favourite here in England. I know my american friends will not like this as it does go behind baby and has holes for the straps, but as shown in the safety video, we can see that it does not in any way interfere with the harness any more then a normal fleece jacket. Morrch

  • Use thermal underwear when it’s winter time! I love wool..all my kids have wool/silk, wool/cotton thermal underwear they use under the clothes when it’s winter.
  • Put the coat on backwards. Basically you take off the coat, fasten the harness nice and snug, and put the coat on back to front. Obviously you don’t zip it up, but it does work and help. 545435_501685953177708_2143734679_n

But are all ‘after-market’ products safe? The answer is most definitely NO! An example of an ‘after-market’ product that I myself are horrified over is this…thing…: il_570xN.507072153_28us It’s quite simple really, never put anything on covering a baby’s face! Just as it is with a pram/buggy/pushchair, you don’t ever cover the opening with a blanket. This is a very serious matter, and it is known to cause infant fatality!!    Same goes for this:

anti bundle me too thick behind my harness CAR SEAT PONCHO - Safety People Frown Upon Bundle Me in Car Seats
The “Bundle Me”
Photo credit: http://tinylink.net/z68b5

A lot of these “foot muffs” will pose as a ‘car seat must have’, and pray on unknowing parents with their perfectly labelled marketing schemes. I’m not saying it’s a guarantee to instantly kill a child, what I am saying is that it’s better to be safe then sorry, and to go by the rules and guidelines stated above.

We may think that “it’s not going to happen to us”. I’m sure little Gabriel’s mum told herself the same thing while driving to her mum’s house before she got hit by a truck…

I hope the information given is of help to everyone, and I hope together we can help each other keep our young safe and sound in their car seats during winter! Happy X-mas from us!!

Q//: What ways have you used to keep your kids safe in the car though the winter-months? Have you ever tried any of the above tips? Tell us your story in a comment below!

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Therese has completed the ‘Advanced Child Car Seat Training Course’ at TRL (Transport Research Lab) and is a CPD accredited car seat expert. She blogs about in-car safety, car seats, tips, reviews, giveaways and advice. She’s a mum on a mission to change the law and raise awareness. She is also a breastfeeding advocate and gentle parenting promoter who loves cloth nappies, baby-wearing, BLW and co-sleeping/bed-sharing.