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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Coats and Carseats DON'T mix!!!!

EDIT:Because some people are confused and not believing this, I will post some videos and the link to the AAFP journal where they say no heavy winter coats as well. NOT TO MENTION...just read your carseat manual, they say no bulky clothing is to be worn under the straps!! This is for the Graco MyRide 65 which I know is popular. It states:
Keep harness straps snug and positioned on shoulders with harness tie at armpit level
Do not use strap covers, cushion or padding under harness straps or child unless provided by Graco
Child should be dressed in clothing that does not interfere with buckling the harness This is for the Britax Boulevard. It states:
Adjust harness to fit the clothes the child is wearing. Remove bulky coats and jackets before putting the child into the restraints.
"Bulky clothes (such as winter coats) create slack in the harness. They should not be worn under the harness straps. After the harness is secured, a blanket can cover the child." (taken straight from the website)

A video that shows the test I was referring to:

 As summer starts to come to and end and cooler weather is on the horizon, it's time to reiterate and important message: 

  Winter coats do NOT belong in a carseat!!!!

The reason being is that it doesn't allow the straps to properly hold your child in the seat. If you are in a wreck, the coat will compress leaving the loose straps and allow baby to slide right out. Have you ever seen the "Space Bag" demonstrations?

See how those PUFFY sweaters can be flattened? Well, THAT is what happens with a puffy coat worn in a carseat during a crash. The straps that could hold your child and their coat tightly before, cannot withstand the g-force of a crash and will NOT hold your child tightly during. I personally don't suggest allowing a child to wear any kind of coat in a carseat. They can wear normal weight clothing and placer the coat on backwards once strapped in, be covered by a blanket once strapped in or wear a carseat poncho or carseat cover.

First I want to show you some incorrect ways to keep warm in a carseat, then, I will post correct ways...



This is fine as it doesn't go behind the baby only over. Bundle-Me's are dangerous.
Ponchos lay over the whole seat and child, nothing  between the child and the straps or the back of the carseat.

Now, if you feel confident that the jacket, blanket, cover you are using under the straps is perfectly safe. I want you to do the thickness test for me. 

First, place child in the carseat fully dressed in jacket, blanket, snowsuit...whatever. Place them in it and adjust the straps accordingly.

Now, remove the child and the clothing, blanket, etc. DO NOT adjust the straps.

Place the child back in the carseat without all of the extras and buckle them in, DO NOT adjust the straps. 

How loose are the straps? If you can place 2 or more fingers between the harness and the child's shoulder bone, the coat, blanket, snowsuit is WAY too bulky to use in the car.

More links to read about coats in the carseat:

I can't say it enough...please do not risk your childs life with anything between them and their carseat straps. That means no heavy coat, no Bundle-Me, no snowsuit, no blanket under them. Only things thrown over your correctly buckled in child.


  1. I think you need actual studies to prove this before you go posting things like this. If the seat is properly adjusted with the coat then there should be no gap!!! In fact if it get warm enough to not wear a coat. Then I readjust the seat. In fact, I check the tightness of my child's straps every car ride! I think this needs more studies, and evidence before people go scaring parents!!!

    1. "The Mom" is 100% correct. This has even been aired on Good Morning America. Adjusting the seat has NOTHING to do with the tightness of the straps. As stated, it's when the straps are compressed due to impact that the air from the coat is compressed which makes an instant gap between the straps and the child leaving enough space for the child to literally fly out of his/her seat. If you want "evidence" try googling how many child were hurt or killed because of this issue. I'm sure the pictures would be proof enough. You can always turn up the heat in your car or have your child wear his/her coat the proper way. You cannot replace your child.

  2. Um...all you have to do it test it like I posted and you can visibly SEE what I am talking about. There is NO gap with the coat on, it's when the pressure of your child it placed on the straps in an accident, those PUFFY coats will un-puff and allow room. I will go back and add videos and the peer reviewed journal from the AAFP(American Academy of Family Physicians) that even says that heavy coats are a no in the carseat.

  3. We have been practicing this since our son was born 7yrs ago. No matter how tit you adjust the straps w a coat on, as soon as you remove the coat it is clear how much slack there is in the straps. We put coats or blankets on over the properly adjusted straps.

    Love the last 'DONT' pic of the two girls w the VERY loose straps!

  4. Very good information, so important to spread the word!

  5. Arguing about this is really kind of silly. Simple fact of the matter is it says not to do it in your manual. End of conversation. That pesky little book you are supposed to read that comes with your car seat and tells you how to use it properly so that it can keep your child alive says don't do it.

  6. right on! this was news to me and when i try to share it with friends they all say things like "nono the doctor (or worse, the guy at babies r us) said this is fine." or "daddy is such a safe driver". thanks for this great info!

  7. Thank you and those that think you're just being a PITA are frankly being stupid.

  8. People have choices. I think there are some adjustments with the seats the people could do. Well, Coats are sometimes thick and it is usually made that way.

    Maria Manfredi
    JLC Doctors Uniforms

  9. I guess you have to do some little fashion in order to come up with a perfect and match coats and carseats. Usually they mixed their colors but as long as it is thick, it suites.