I know I know, you think you’ve heard it all before and anyone who reads my blog knows that I am so very passionate about car seat safety! I promise I’m just trying to educate parents and caregivers who MAY not know everything about car seat safety. I’m not judging you or looking down on you, I’m trying to help you! Our children have one life and it’s OUR job to protect our littles, that’s why car seat safety is one of the most important topics.
See, back 7 years ago when I had my first child, I didn’t read my car seat manual, I just thought it was common sense, you just put the baby in the seat, and hook up the harness and you’re good to go. I didn’t know that the chest clip should be at nipple/armpit height, I didn’t know the straps shouldn’t be twisted, I didn’t know that the straps should be snug as a hug, etc. A dear friend brought it up to me and I was SO THANKFUL for her telling me these things, and that’s when I started researching car seat safety. I wanted to know everything about it, and then I felt I should educate others about it, the ones who were like me when I didn’t know the dos and don’ts of car seat safety. You can read some of my prior posts here:
Quick Tip Guide for Car Seat Safety
Important Car Seat Safety for Babies and Toddlers
9 Simple and Common Mistakes Parents Make When Using Car Seats
Choosing the Right Booster Seat for your Older Child
…but now this post is about Winter and travel, because it’s an entirely different topic with a few different points that aren’t always brought up, so that’s what I’m hear to educate you about today!
Here are some quick tips you will want to remember about car seat safety, no matter what car seat you use. When traveling on long road trips, it’s even more important that our children are the safest they can be. During Winter there are also some very important tips you must keep in mind and follow too!
1 – Find a car seat that fits your child well, whether that is rear facing, forward facing, or a booster.
2 – When using a harness, the straps may NEVER be twisted.
3 – When using a harness, the straps must ALWAYS be tight, snug as a hug, with no extra slack.
4 – When rear facing, straps must be AT or BELOW the shoulder for it to fit properly.
5 – When forward facing, straps must be AT or ABOVE the shoulder for it to fit properly.
6 – A chest clip must ALWAYS be at nipple/armpit level. It is a chest clip, NOT a belly clip.
7 – Do NOT allow your child to wear puffy jackets in their car seat, this will compress in the event of an accident, and your child could fly out of their seat. (We will be elaborating on that in this post, so read on below!)
8 – A car seat MUST be installed correctly for it to keep your child safe. Install it using LATCH or a seatbelt, but not both. The car seat should NEVER be able to move more than an inch side to side. If forward facing, make sure you tether the car seat to an anchor point as well.
9 – Car seats DO expire, make sure you check your seat and know when you need to replace your seat. Most are good for 6 to 8 years depending on the manufacture. Car seats also need to be replaced after an accident, your insurance will cover it. If they give you a hard time, push them to cover it.
10 – State laws are the minimum of what’s required for your child, please do the maximum for your child. They only have one life and it’s your job to keep them safe.
Now since it’s colder weather and Winter is coming up, and I don’t see many blog posts promoting a very important topic, or parents following a very very important rule that must be followed when putting your baby/toddler/child in a car seat, I wanted to elaborate on it here at Everything Mommyhood. Car Seats and Winter Coats. They DO NOT mix together! Your child should never ever have on a bulky Winter coat/jacket/clothing while buckled in a car seat.
I know what you’re thinking, my baby will freeze, or that’s not right to treat my child that way, etc etc. There are many ways around it, to keep your child safe AND warm, that’s why I’m here to help!
I did a little comparison here to show you why, so keep on reading!
As you can see in the first image, my daughter has on a bulky Winter coat over her clothing in her car seat, and you can see her straps are nice and snug with the chest clip at armpit level, just like it should be. So what’s wrong?
What’s wrong is this – In the event of an accident, that bulky jacket/coat/clothing will compress which will make extra slack in the car seat straps and your child could very possibly be ejected from their seat. That’s very scary, and something that can easily be avoided. We want to protect our children!
Now in these images, the big bulky coat was removed, and the straps were not moved/tightened/loosened. My daughter is actually wearing a fleece pullover jacket instead.
Just look at how the straps are hanging, the chest clip is hanging and how much room there is in there, which your child has enough room to quite possibly fly out of in the event of an accident. This can all be avoidable, very easily!! Refer to the tips up top on keeping your child’s straps snug as a hug, chest clip at armpit level, etc. Please do not place a bulky coat/jacket/clothing on your baby/toddler/child in their car seats.
Here are some tips on how to keep your child warm without a bulky Winter coat in their car seat:
1 – When it’s cold outside, go ahead out and start your vehicle about 5-10 minutes before you leave if you’re able to, that way it’s warm inside my vehicle and you won’t have to worry about your kiddos being cold.
2 – Put your children in thin fleece jackets over top of their clothing.
3 – Have them always keep a blanket in the car next to their car seat to place over them.
4 – After strapping your child into their car seat, put their Winter coat on backwards over top of your child.
Here’s a perfect example of how your child should look in their car seat:
Now you can place a blanket over top of your child, or even a heavy/bulky jacket on over top of the harness to keep them warm!
I really hope you take information from this informative post and share it with your friends and family, you never know, you may save a life.
Also, please if you have ANY questions at all please feel free to ask, comment below, or you can even send me an email at EverythingMommyhood@gmail.com!