The cold winters in Upstate New York can be long and harsh as an adult, and when you add kids into the mix it makes it a bit more complicated! As I’m out and about with my two kiddos, now 10 and almost 4, of course I’m drawn to all the beautiful babies in infant seats and adorable toddlers being toted by their parents. Many times I notice simple things that can be really dangerous when paired with a car seat, and I wonder if Mom knows. Should I say something? Would that be rude? And then I walk away with a knot in my stomach…It bothers me so much – as my friends all know – that I thought I would write a post about it.
We all know that infants should be dressed properly for the weather. When my daughter was born in 2012 they told me to put her in one layer more than I was wearing to keep her warm enough in the colder weather (she’s a March baby). However, you should never under any circumstance dress baby in bulky clothing and then put them in their infant seat. The fluff of the bulky clothing compresses during an accident and can actually result in baby being ejected from their car seat. The JJ Cole Bundle Me insert that everyone seems to love around here is another big no-no for the same reason, but the car seat covers that go on the outside of the seat with elastic (sometimes referred to as “shower-cap style”) are great! I had them for both of my kids and used them as long as I possibly could. You can also put baby in the car seat and then wrap blankets around them after you’ve buckled and tightened their straps properly. (Make sure to tighten those straps!) Speaking of straps, any items that didn’t come with your car seat, including those cute little strap covers, shouldn’t be used. That goes for the little head rests that you can buy and the body inserts. They all change the ability of the car seat to function properly in the case of a crash. So much to think about!
So this stuff goes for bigger kids too. No bulky clothing. It becomes a bit more difficult when they outgrow the infant seat and you aren’t bundling them in the house all covered up and putting them right into the car. There are some great solutions though. For one, car starters are not that expensive, so you can preheat your car before you get them in. There are specialty jackets like the CozyWoggle, which we had for the colder months and loved. It is a complete winter coat that unzips up the sides and sleeves so there is no material between the seat and the child. You can check out their website here: http://www.cozywoggle.com if you are interested in seeing it in action. There are also tons of people on Etsy selling car seat ponchos and a few free patterns on Google if you have basic sewing skills and a machine to use. You can see my daughter wearing hers in the photo below. I used a $10 fleece blanket kit from Walmart and a free pattern from a Google search and was ecstatic that I made it myself! And as you can see…yes, she’s still rear facing. She’ll be four in less than a month. I’ll do a post on that another time!