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Baby It’s Cold Out, Now Buckle Up Safely!

How to buckle up a child in a car seat properly with a winter coat on.Just like the classic lyrics to the age old Christmas carol suggest, the weather outside is frightful…

OK, fine. Maybe it’s not exactly blizzard weather where I live quite yet, but it sure is freezing out! Definitely cold enough to dig out the big puffy winter coats, that’s for sure!

But did you know that there is a right way and a not so right way to buckle up the kiddos in their car seat during the cold winter months?

With over eight years of parenting under my mom jeans, I do consider myself what some would call a “seasoned mom.” But recently I learned that I was buckling up my kids in a fashion that apparently wasn’t safe at all.

Thankfully I’ve taken some time to educate myself on the proper way to stay both safe and warm in a car seat, and I would love to take a minute to share with you what I was taught.

OK, here’s what I learned. Are you listening?

In order to stay warm, we naturally bundle our kids in big puffy winter coats. While they might be toasty warm, it’s not the safest situation if you’re hoping in the car.

We all know that to be properly restrained in the car seat, there must be less than two finger widths between the harness straps and the child’s chest. When you add a big puffy coat to the equation, the harness often needs to be let out and adjusted. And in the event of a crash or collision, the coat is instantly compresses upon impact, resulting in the restrains having way more than two finger widths of room between the child’s body and the car seat.

Are you still following me? Good.

So what’s the solution? Actually, the fix I was taught is pretty simple.

1. Bundle up the child inside the house just like you typically do, except don’t zip up the coat.

How to buckle up a child properly in a car seat while wearing a winter coat.

2. When you get to the car, set the child in the seat normally, but put the straps over the child with the coat unzipped.

3. Strap the child in the seat with the coat still unzipped.

4. Then, zip the coat over the 5 point harness. You might not be able to zip the coat up all the way to the child’s chin, but nevertheless, it will keep the child warm enough (and safe!) to make it to the next destination.

How to buckle up a child in a car seat properly with a winter coat on.

Friends, I thought I knew it all. And I was surprised and humbled when I found out I was doing it all wrong. But alas, this parenting gig is a never ending course in learning.

Got any tips or tricks of your own regarding traveling during the winter?

The content and viewpoints expressed here within are solely that of the originators. Graco’s sponsorship does not imply endorsement of any opinions or information provided and we do not assume responsibility for the accuracy of the content provided. Please always consult a professional for matters related to your child’s well-being. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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