Can My Child Wear a Coat in Their Car Seat?
By Intermountain Healthcare
Dec 21, 2017
Updated Jul 13, 2023
5 min read
Parents know it’s difficult to go anywhere with a young family — and winter with kids is even more complicated with puffy coats and extra layers. You might have even had to take a minute and loosen up the straps on your child’s car seat to fit around their coat. But before you loosen those straps, you should reconsider whether or not you should let your child wear their coat in their car seat. Wearing a puffy coat in a car seat can be dangerous if the straps are too loose on your child to be effective during a crash. Learn how to check your child’s coat, and find out other options for keeping your kids warm and safe during the winter.
Most puffy coats are too large to be worn in a car seat. During a car accident, the puffy layers of your child’s coat will compress and the loosened straps could lead to injury or ejection. So, does this mean all coats should be taken off while using a car seat? It depends.
Consumer Reports offers helpful advice for checking to see if your child’s coat is thin enough to be worn while they sit in their car seat.
You’ve done the test. Your child’s coat is too bulky to fit safely in their car seat. But now with no coat, you have a cold toddler. How can you keep them warm and safe?
Instead of wearing one bulky top layer, you can try dressing your child in several smaller layers. Keeping your baby or toddler warm during winter often starts before you even leave your home. Put tights under their pants or a thin fleece jacket over a long-sleeve shirt. You’ll want to keep in mind how cold the weather is and how warm your car will be during transit so your child doesn’t overheat or get too cold.
Keep a few blankets in the car during winter. This works for the entire family. Buckle up first, then place the blanket on top of your child.
One great option for your kids is to have them wear their coat backwards after putting them in their car seat. This works well when you don’t have the option of dressing them in extra layers and you don’t have a blanket. Be sure they’re buckled in securely, then put their arms through the coat backwards.
Think it’s just kids who need to shed their winter coats before getting into a seatbelt? Think again. The same principle applies to adults. A large winter coat can keep your seat belt from snugging against you — which means that in the event of an accident, you could be injured or ejected from your car.