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Baby, It's Cold Outside...

Winter Safety & Car Seats

a helpful guide to winter attire that passes the (pinch) test

Baby, it's cold outside! Low and behold, it’s that time again. Time to start planning ahead for the frigid temperatures that we have all come to expect. And while the mercury might still be climbing in your area, we live in a country where for many months the temperature drops below freezing more days than we care to admit. As such, we are accustomed to bundling up in layers and heavy winter gear in an attempt to fend off Mr. Freeze. Yes, winter coats and snowsuits are our best friend when enjoying time in the fresh air, however they can be a child restraint's worst enemy. The classic winter coat or snowsuit of which we are all familiar is not only bulky, it is also unsafe when worn in a child restraint, or under a seat belt. Why, you ask? The short answer is, that after a few moments the bulk of the coat/snowsuit compresses under the weight of the harness/belt thereby introducing slack (space) between your child's body and the harness/belt itself. In the event of a crash, this will create enough slack (space) in the harness so that your child could be injured by excessive movement, or ejected entirely from the seat. And this goes for all stages of child restraints - up to and including boosters, 5 steppers, and even adults! Yes, adults too.

Remember, the goal is to keep your child WARM and SAFE in the car - don't give safety the cold shoulder.

Most winter coats and snowsuits are like air-filled plastic bags, and no matter how tight you think you've tightened the harness/belt, you CANNOT remove the air from these items.

When shopping for a coat/snowsuit or outfit that is 'car seat safe', the goal is to select one that won't compress further under the forces of a collision or abrupt stop, and introduce slack in the (static) harness.

Tips & Tricks:

selecting ‘car seat safe' winter attire

When choosing winter attire that is 'car seat safe', you want to take the time to test it out with your child in their child restraint.

Pro Tip: it's always best to do this before you remove the tags and lose the receipt!! 🏷

Here’s how:

➡️ To begin with, place your child in their new attire and buckle them in to their child restraint, making sure that their harness straps pass the pinch test.

** (see below for Pinch Test)

➡️ Next, unbuckle your child without loosening or adjusting the harness in any way, and remove their attire.

➡️ Then, buckle him/her back into his/her restraint without adjusting the harness.

Is the harness still tight enough? Does it pass the Pinch Test? If you answered yes, congratulations, you've got the right attire! If the harness is now too loose, you'll need to find something thinner. But don't worry, i've got you covered; scroll down for my list of tried and true 'car seat safe' winter attire recommendations.⬇⬇️

Pinch Test:

To know if a car seat’s harness is tight enough, it must pass the Pinch Test.

Here's how:

➡️ After tightening the harness and removing any slack from the hip area, try to pinch the webbing horizontally at the child’s collarbone.

➡️ If you can grasp any material/webbing and pinch and hold it, it’s too loose. Your fingers should slide right off the webbing when it is tight enough.

Remember, tight means safe! Every ride. Every time. Don’t slack off!

Properly fitting wool, fleece, packable down attire, or even sweatshirts, do add a bit of bulk to the child's body and will often require a small harness adjustment. The key is that the harness length remains appropriate to the child's compressed clothing, compared to the dangerous amount of extra slack introduced to the harness via an uncompressed puffy jacket or snowsuit.

Here are some recommendations for tried and true winter attire that has passed the 'car seat safe' test. That said, even though this list has been tested, it is still necessary that you, personally, test the attire on YOUR child in his or her child restraint (as described above) to ensure that the fit is good and the coat/attire is safe.

➡️ Click on the links below to view each item and read the descriptions.

Pass it on:

If you have an item that you think is missing and should be added to the list, PLEASE send me a message directly so that I can check it out for myself and include it in an upcoming edit. This list is not exhaustive and is ever-changing and ever-growing! Sharing is Caring, so pass it on. Welcome to the village. 🤗

Keep your eyes peeled for COUPON CODES shared below!

Infant Car Seat Covers:

Note: Covering a baby's face makes it impossible to monitor a child's breathing,

in addition to cutting off their access to fresh air flow which can lead to

overheating and suffocation. Rather than breathing fresh oxygen, the baby is

rebreathing the trapped air and expelled CO2.

Infant Car Seat Covers cannot be used in the vehicle or

for any extended amount of time.

These products are intended for strolling and transporting a child outdoors only. ALL Infant Car Seat Covers MUST be removed from the carrier while riding in a vehicle.

Click here for the advisory from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

ONLY for use with Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 Infant Car Seat

ONLY for use with Britax Infant Car Seats

Multipurpose Covers:

note: use code SAFESEATS_10 for 10% off your purchase


Down and Down Alternative:

Gap 100% Recycled Lightweight Puffer Collection

Size 0/6 months - Size 18/24 months

Gap 100% Recycled Lightweight Puffer Collection

Size 12/18 months - Size 5T

Gap 100% Recycled Lightweight Puffer Collection

Size XS - Size XXL

Joe Fresh PrimaLoft® Puffer Jacket Collection

Baby: Size 3/6 months - Size 18/24 months

Joe Fresh PrimaLoft® Puffer Jacket Collection

Toddler: Size 2T - Size 5T

Paradox PrimaLoft Jackets

Sold in-store at Costco (size 2T +) - seasonal

Specialty Outerwear Designed for Child Restraint Systems:

Tempo Outerwear Duo Car Seat Safe Jacket®

Size 2 years - Size 6 years

Made in Canada

One Kid Road Coat® Down

Size 12 months - Size 8 years

One Kid Road Coat® Arctic

Size 2 years - Size 10​ years

One Kid Road Coat® Vegan

Size 6 months - Size 8​ years

One Kid Road Coat® Transition

Size 6 months - Size 8​ years

One Kid Road Coat® Vest

Size 6 months - Size 8​ years

One Kid Road Coat® Snow Suit

Size 0/3 months - Size 18/24 months

Buckle Me Baby Coats

Size 0/3 months - Size 18 months

Coupon Code: use code SAFESEATS10 for $10 off your purchase

Buckle Me Baby Coats Toasty

Size 6/9 months - Size 6 years

Coupon Code: use code SAFESEATS10 for $10 off your purchase

Buckle Me Baby Coats Toastier

Size 6/9 months - Size 6 years

Coupon Code: use code SAFESEATS10 for $10 off your purchase

Buckle Me Baby Coats Toastiest

Size 6/9 months - Size 6 years

Coupon Code: use code SAFESEATS10 for $10 off your purchase

Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions at all, if you need additional information, or clarification on anything listed above. Selecting proper (read: SAFE) winter attire can seem a little overwhelming, which is why I put together this list.

I've got you!


In the spirit of full disclosure, Safe Seats Ottawa is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Purchasing anything starting from any of those links above helps by contributing to an ongoing seat fund at Safe Seats Ottawa, and allows me to help families in need - at no cost to you.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and support.

Last Updated: December 1st, 2022

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