How to keep your baby safe in the winter in the car seat

Traditionally speaking, the jacket has been used as the primary piece of clothing to keep warm. One of the first things that parents do in the winter is to wrapping their child up with a jacket to keep them warm and safe. This is done out of pure love and concern, to keep your child from falling sick.  It truly is a life-saver. But, this is only valid when you’re on foot, not in a moving vehicle.

Here are some facts-

Your average jacket always creates a slack of at least 7cm, up to 10cm. This is like wearing a size 36 when you’re a size 32. It does not add up in terms of safety. 

Why? 

Because with that added girth, your child is effectively bigger. This implies that the safety restraints in the car do not fit the child properly. In the event of an accident, there is a higher chance that the child could be ejected from the car seat.

Research conducted by the University of Michigan found that slack in the seat belt of a car results in a crash dummy’s head moving upwards of 10cm away as compared to the properly fastened dummy.

Bulky clothing is great to keep warm, but that’s it. Such puffy clothing could result in your child slipping out of the seat belt.

Here’s something I want you to realize- I want you to realize the importance of keeping the seat belt as snug as possible. This will ensure the safety of you and your child if something happens.

All clothing compresses in an accident. But the thicker clothing like winter coats and snowsuits compress to the level that it creates the effect of not having a seat belt on at all. This is bad.

But there’s a flaw in how we think – we think that jackets are the only clothing that keeps your child warm. This is where we go wrong. Now that we can conclude that we can’t rely on thicker clothing, I am delighted to apprise you that there are other alternatives, that keep your child warm and more importantly, safe when the temperature drops. 

They are

Dressing in layers: When you want to keep your baby warm in the winter, don’t just have them put on a jacket and call it a day. Dress your child in multiple layers of clothing, since this helps keep them warm.

Each layer of clothing holds in warm air. The layer right next to the skin must be close-fitting, such as tights or leggings. This layer has to be covered with pants and then a shirt up top. You can get a cheap car poncho to keep your keed both safe and warm as well. 

A general rule of thumb is that your child must wear one layer more than you do.

Another fact is that a lot of the body’s heat is lost from the head. So make sure that your baby wears a beanie or a warm hat, so they don’t lose much heat. Other than this, having your child wear socks and mittens will keep their feet and hands warm. The hat, mittens, and socks do not interfere with the safety restraint, so please don’t ignore these pieces of clothing for any reason.

Take off any coat before buckling the car seat: If your child is wearing a coat when you put her in the car, take it off. Once buckled into the car seat, you can put the child’s coat on backward over her arms to keep her warm without compromising safety.

Add a blanket on top: Buckle the child into the infant seat, then cover her with a light blanket tucked around the sides. If needed, you can add another heavier blanket over the top of the infant seat. As the car heats up, you can remove a blanket so your child doesn’t overheat.

Make sure nothing is behind the child’s back. No portion of the blanket, jacket, or car seat cover should be behind your child’s back.

Adjust the straps each time: You should only be able to get one finger under the harness at your child’s shoulder bone. If you can pinch the strap, it is too loose.

Warming up before you go: If you can, keep the carrier portion of your infant seat indoors so it isn’t cold when you put your child into it. Warm up your car before putting the baby in the vehicle.

Tighten the straps of the car seat harness. Even if your child looks snuggly bundled up in the car seat, multiple layers may make it difficult to tighten the harness enough. If you can pinch the straps of the car seat harness, then it needs to be tightened to fit snugly against your child’s chest.

Once you have secured your baby into the car seat, you can then tuck a warm blanket or jacket over the seat restraints.

Only use a car seat cover if it does not have a layer that goes under the baby. Nothing should ever go underneath your child’s body, or between the body and harness straps of the car seat.

If the item did not come with the car seat, or is not an accessory available for that particular seat, it has not been crash tested and could stop the car seat from doing its job.

Never use sleeping bags, pram accessories or pillows with your car seat.

The car seat harness should not have any twists or ripples when fastened. It’s considered tight enough when you cannot pinch the harness fabric between your fingers.