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Baby It's Cold Outside: Winter car seat safety 101

Posted by Mom Friends on

So... it's September, summer has ended, cooler weather is getting near.  Now's the time to be thinking about keeping your little ones warm and more importantly safe!

Living in Canada, there can be some dilemmas like where to buy de-ice salt when it’s a skating rink outside and how to practice car seat safety with keeping your children warm in the car.  Luckily, one dilemma has been addressed by local Ottawa entrepreneur Natalie Terrien from Bundle Baby!  We got a chance to ask her some questions and here is what she had to say:

Tell us about the Bucket Jacket (by Bundle Baby) and how you came to develop this?

After my first pregnancy,  I discovered the safety hazard of bulky jackets while researching car seats for my new baby.   During my daughter’s first winter, I tried a few options for clothing; either too bulky or not practical.  When my twins were born, I decided to make a jacket that sits on the OUTSIDE of the harness of the infant carrier. The harness remained snug against the babies and it was quick for me to use. I received a lot of compliments on my babies’ jackets so I decided to have it manufactured.

What are the safety rules associated with wearing puffy jackets in a car seat?

The government does not ban winter jackets in car seats, but it is highly recommended to avoid any bulky jackets or any aftermarket products (harness padding, bunting bags...) in the car seats. In a collision, the force can compress the jacket and create space between the child and the harness. This “slack” can potentially cause spinal injuries or the child can be completely ejected from the seat.

When it's so cold out, what is the best way to keep my kids warm in their car seat?

For infants in the carrier, the Bucket Jacket is a great option. The baby can wear their indoor clothing in the seat and the jacket sits over the harness. Car seat covers which sit on the seat like a shower cap are also an excellent option.

For toddlers in the 5-point convertible seat, the options are less practical, unfortunately.  Fleece jackets are thin and safer than  bulky jackets, but sadly fleece jackets don’t provide enough warmth outdoors, especially in Canada. To keep them warm, a poncho (which are also available through Bundle Baby), blankets or their winter jackets placed backwards over the harness are good options. Some winter jackets are better in the car seat than others. To check, place your child in the car seat wearing their winter jacket. Tighten straps. Then, take them out of the seat without loosening the straps. Remove jacket and place child in the seat and fasten harness clips once again. If you can pinch any excess webbing at the collarbone, it's too much slack and it's not recommended to use that jacket in the car seat. Personally, I prefer fleece and thin down-filled jackets.

What age can my kids start using the Bucket Jacket?

The Bucket Jacket comes in one size and will fit a baby the entire time they’re in the infant carrier (ie. “bucket seat”). The sizing was designed to accommodate babies that would be in infant carrier two winter seasons. Ideally,  the baby should be at least 5kg (10lbs) because the jacket will fit big.

Huge thanks to Natalie for all this great information and creating such an important product for Canadian families! Now if only we had something to get your child to want to sit in their car seats….

Baby Car Seat Car Seat Safety

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