WARNING: Bulky winter coats and car seats don’t mix.
Tips for a cozy and safe ride are below!

RELATED: GUIDE: 10 Items To Build Your Winter Car Kit

You’ve likely seen the ad campaign (here) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in conjunction with the Ad Council and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to encourage parents and caregivers to know for sure their children are in the right car seat — and encourage communities to engage in child passenger safety.

car seat safety ratings

Think: Coats Off, Click On!


  • Coats Off – Take the time, every time, to remove bulky/puffy coats before securing them into the seat.
  • Dress In Layers – Just as adults should dress in layers in the wintertime, toddlers and infants are best dressed in multiple, thin layers rather than a couple heavy ones. Regulate temperature for them by shedding/reapplying layers as needed.
  • Blanket Covering – Keep a blanket in the car for use over them, without interfering with the fit of any harness. Or use a “bunting bag” similar to the #1 Best Selling on Amazon JJ Cole Bundleme below.
  • No blanket? No problem! – After securing your children in their seats, turn the coat around and put it on backwards with their arms through the arm holes and the back of the coat acting like a blanket.

While I invite you to explore the NHTSA safety informational website, one key element to a proper child safety seat is a proper fit. And allowing your child to wear a big winter coat under the harness is a common mistake made with the advent of winter weather.

car seat safety ratings

Start with the right seat, then get the right fit!

Sure, you want little Tommy or Suzy to be warm and cozy, but extra slack in the harness can be very dangerous by risking too much excursion or even ejection during a crash or sudden stop. Even when it may appear that a child is tight within a seat, the cushioning of a coat will collapse and fail to offer support. (Not following? Place your child in a puffy coat and put them in a seat and tighten the straps as you normally do. Without altering the straps, remove your child and remove the coat. Place your child back into the seat coat-free to see how much room your child would have once the coat compressed under pressure.)

Safe travels!


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