Winter jackets in child car seats

At besafe, we know that your top priority is to protect your child at all times – whether it’s at school, on vacation, at home or, in this case, in the car. Because that’s exactly what they use a car seat for children. So let’s take a look at why you should avoid combining a child car seat with a winter jacket.

As soon as frosty temperatures set in, a cozy winter jacket protects your child from the cold, especially in the cold morning hours and, for example, on the way to kindergarten or school. Because of this, taking off the winter jacket in the car is often not the first thing that comes to mind at such temperatures. That’s why we, as a child seat manufacturer, make it a point to do as much educational work as possible every year about the dangers involved. We would like to make as many parents as possible aware that a thick winter jacket makes it difficult or even impossible to buckle up properly. The straps do not fit tightly around the child’s body and therefore there is too much room for movement in the straps in the event of an accident or hard braking.

Why are thick winter jackets potentially dangerous in child car seats??

Most winter jackets are filled with materials such as down or feathers. They keep your child warm by generating a kind of "air cushion" and prevent the body heat from getting outside. However, if you put your child in the car seat with such a thick winter jacket, it is precisely this air cushion in the jacket that prevents the seat belts from being fully tightened.

Compared to the average seat belt behavior of most parents, it looks at first glance in this picture as if the belts are fully tightened.

However, if the exact same belt setting is maintained, it will be obvious after the jacket is removed that the child has an extremely large amount of slack inside the belts.

In comparison, a properly tightened belt should look like this picture.

In the event of an accident, when your child is pushed out of the car seat and into the seat belts, the forces are so strong that the air trapped in the jacket is forced out. This will result in your child having too much room to move within the straps as they are not tight enough to keep your child safely in the seat. Look again at the second picture. In the event of an accident, your child would first move out of the seat until it reaches the seat belts.

We therefore recommend that you do not wear thick winter jackets when buckling up your child in winter.

How to prevent my child from freezing in the car?

1 – use footmuffs or blankets designed specifically for infant car seats

Some footmuffs or blankets are specifically designed for use in a car seat. Thanks to their closable back openings and built-in harness grommets, the internal harnesses of the infant car seat can be placed on the inside of the footmuff. Since the footmuff is then closed over the straps, no thick layer is placed between your child and the straps of the seat.

2 – place a hot water bottle in the seat 5-10 minutes before departure

If you place a hot water bottle in the seat 5-10 minutes before departure, you can easily ensure that your child is not sitting on a cold surface. Instead, it gets extra warmth from below.

3 – let your child wear clothes made of wool or woolwalk

These materials provide good protection against the cold without trapping air, so that the straps can still be tightened tightly.

4 – simply "reboard" your child’s jacket AFTER buckling him or her in

Buckle up your child without a jacket. then pull the jacket "upside down" over the arms so that the jacket rests on the upper part of the body. Thus, the jacket can protect against the cold without being between the child and the belt.

5 – take a blanket with you in the car

Snuggle your child under a soft blanket after you buckle him or her in. This keeps you warm and cozy at the same time.

6 – let your child wear a poncho and put the back part over the back of the seat

If your child is wearing a poncho, you can put the back part over the back of the seat and leave the front part above the seat belts. this creates a kind of "heat bubble" underneath the poncho, without a thick layer between the belt and the child. Alternatively, you can also achieve something similar with a fleece blanket into which a head opening is cut. However, please always make sure that the back of the poncho/blanket rests loosely on the seat and is not tucked in anywhere.

How can I inform more parents about the dangers of winter jackets in children’s car seats??

probably the easiest way to educate more parents about this mostly unknown danger of winter jackets is to hang up posters in the kindergarten or hand them out as flyers. To make it easier for you, we have prepared posters for you, which you can easily download and print out at home.

thank you for helping to educate even more parents! With your help, many more children can ride safely in their car seats this winter.

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Christina Cherry
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