Winter coats and car seats (very pic heavy!)

An Aurora

Senior Community Member
*More pics in post #15
*Please see my blog for more pictures--I am limited to the number of pics I can post in a single post on here!

I took some pictures today to share with another forum, and thought I would share here.

This is Mali, my five year old, wearing her normal outdoor gear: snow bibs, and a warm winter jacket:

She is buckled in securely, with the straps tightened so that they pass the "pinch test":

Without loosening the straps, this is how she fits without the snow pants and coat:

Look at all that slack! In a crash, puffy coats and snow suits will compress in a crash, introducing slack.

In a crash, the chest clip is designed to break or move down. So if that happens...

...her shoulders very easily fit through the shoulder straps.

...and this is how much movement it would allow. She could easily be ejected from the seat.

Here is Scarlett, my three year old, wearing her normal gear: snow bibs and her warm coat.

Straps are snug, and pass the pinch test: my fingers slide right off the strap and I cannot pinch a horizontal fold in the strap.

With the coat and bibs removed:

She is easily able to wriggle free.


So how do we keep them warm and safe? For babies, a good-quality fleece one-piece outfit with a long-sleeved onesie or cotton pajamas is a good start. If you are using an infant seat, choose a shower-cap style cover for it, as these keep the wind and cold off your little one without introducing slack into the harness. You can also tuck blankets over the baby, and the shower cap cover will keep them in place--but once the car warms up, don't forget to unzip the cover and loosen the blankets so baby doesn't get overheated! The "bunting" style bags should be avoided, since those go between the car seat and the child, and that extra bulk will compress in a crash much like the puffy coats.

For older children, choose smart layers. My kids wear tights under fleece pants, a long-sleeved shirt with a good-quality fleece jacket over top, and if it's windy, a light-weight windbreaker. Don't forget warm boots, a cozy hat, and mittens!

Here's Mali all ready to go:

Here she is buckled in:

After she's buckled, I tuck her warm winter coat around her, and she kicks it off after the car gets warm.

If you're not sure your coat is ok to use in the car, try the test I showed above: buckle your child into the car as you normally would, tighten the straps until they pass the pinch test, then without loosening the straps remove the child, take off all those warm layers, and rebuckle to see how much slack is in the harness.
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Awesome thanks! Apparently I've given too much rep in the last 24 hours, but when I'm able you'll be getting some! :thumbsup:

An Aurora

Senior Community Member
All buckled in, ready to go. This snowsuit looks pretty harmless, and is a good deal less puffy than many you see out there.

With the snowsuit removed:

Here's the little sweetie in her other ride (the Evenflo Symphony convertible seat):

Harness is nice and snug:

With the snowsuit removed:


I don't have a small infant (my baby is 18 months old, *sniff*) but some fellow car seat nerds have given me these photos to demonstrate safe, warm infants!

Here is a brand new baby ready to head home, safely buckled and using a shower cap style cover:


Here is another teeny guy wearing warm clothing, with the shower cap style cover unzipped.

All zipped up, ready to go!

For an older baby, warm layers with a blanket over top is perfect!

In the infant seat...


...and in the convertible



New member
Just a quick question... in the pics with older kids and puffy coats, are you tightening in the harness as much as you can, or just tightening it until it "passes" the pinch test?

I'm totally on board with the intent of your post (my 3.5 year old son never wears coats in the car), I'm just curious.

An Aurora

Senior Community Member
I tighten until it passes the pinch test, just like I do when they are not wearing coats. It is unnecessary to tighten the harness beyond passing the pinch test. :)

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