Staying Warm and Safe: Coats and Car Seats for Infants and Toddlers

With the ideal room temperature for a baby being between 16-20°C, keeping them comfortable when colder weather arrives can be tough. This is even more complex for keeping your child comfortable on car journeys, as we all know that it’s hard to keep vehicles at an ambient temperature. 

It can be tempting for parents to pad their little ones out in a thick winter coat before travel. However, this can negatively affect the safety of car seats, leading to them not properly supporting a child as they should. This article will discuss how you can keep a child warm yet safe whilst travelling. As we all know, heat is rarely on our side in the UK. We will also share some tips and advice, plus a few of our products that can always keep your little one toasty but supportive. 

Why Is It Important to Consider How to Keep Babies Warm in the Car?

As adults, unless you have an underlying health condition, most of us can regulate our body temperatures to protect ourselves when it’s excessively cold. Whilst we may deal with a chilly car, the same cannot be said for babies who struggle to balance their temperatures. 

While babies are still developing, their ability to regulate temperatures and the immune system that provides resilience to illness are compromised. This means that babies are at a greater risk of developing hypothermia because of being too cold. When a baby gets too cold, they will struggle to exert the energy needed to make a guardian aware of their discomfort. This can mean that parents may drive along completely unaware that their little one is at risk of a serious health condition. 

To ensure that the driver’s attention can remain on the road and that babies are warm plus safe, making considerations for their warmth is essential. This will increase how long a baby can stay in a car seat both safely and comfortably in the winter and ensure they are not caused any stress whilst travelling. As the UK car seat regulations require parents to ensure their child is adequately secured, it is also part of a legal requirement to keep travel in line with the law.

Is It Safe for Babies to Wear Winter Coats Whilst in a Car Seat?

The last thing you want when choosing a safe car seat, such as a rear-facing and Swedish-tested model, is to find out that a child is not being sufficiently protected. If a puffy winter coat is being worn for travel, this will be the case. 

It’s not safe for babies to wear winter coats, as the padding can mean that the safety features of a car seat cannot operate as intended. Although they may seem fine at first glance, the padded element of a coat will quickly be lost if an impact is made. The fibres of the wadding can compress, meaning that too much room is left between the child and the harness to provide secure protection. 

Furthermore, coats can impact other safety features, such as head and armrests, which can lead to a child not being supported in terms of ergonomics and comfort. Finally, babies could be susceptible to overheating in the car if they are left wearing a coat. Overall, we don’t recommend that a child wear a thick winter coat whilst travelling.

What Are the Safest Ways of Keeping a Baby Warm in a Car Seat?

As you now know that wearing a winter coat in the car is not safe for a baby, you may be worried about how you keep them safe in the colder months. Below we have compiled a list of our top tips for achieving this as it’s a lot easier than you may think!

  • Keep the car seat inside so that it’s not left to be subjected to the freezing conditions that your car will be in. You can also warm up the seat before you leave by placing it next to a radiator so that your little one is placed into a seat at ambient temperature. 
  • Use a blanket or poncho to keep them warm once strapped in. This can also be a comforting layer that doesn’t interfere with a car’s safety features. 
  • Always be sure to pre-heat and defrost the vehicle before a little one is placed inside. 
  • Ensure the baby wears suitable layers that don’t need to be thick to maintain a safe body temperature. Lightweight materials such as fleece and wool are ideal as they allow the correct position in the seat whilst ensuring a child is comfortable. 
  • When it’s particularly cold, try to limit the amount of travel time that a little one is required to undertake. No matter how many precautions you take, extended time being exposed to harsh conditions can lead to an uncomfortable and unhappy little one. If you are on a longer trip, take regular breaks and closely monitor your baby’s temperature to understand what adjustments need to be made. 

How Can You Test if a Winter Coat Is Suitable to Use With a Car Seat?

No matter what car seat you select as ideal for your baby, the same safety considerations will apply in colder weather. Whilst thick winter coats are not safe for a baby to wear whilst travelling, some lighter-weight jackets may still provide warmth. You should always test to see if they are safe to use before setting off on a journey. 

The best way to do this is to dress your child in the outfit and place them in the car seat. Be sure to fasten and then make a mark on the seat strap when the end lies. This can be done with chalk or a sticky tab. Then remove the child, remove their coat and place them back in the seat. 

If the tail is not showing in a safe position once you adjust the restraints for their needs, the padding is too thick to wear. You should only be able to fit one finger under the harness, so if any more room is found, the child’s protection will not be in place should an accident occur.

The safest way to travel when it’s cold is to use layers, as we mentioned in our previous section, as these will offer a better way to regulate temperature with safety guaranteed. 

What Can I Use Instead of a Coat in a Car Seat?

Aside from the recommendations that we have already shared, there are a few other methods you can use which involve choosing the right accessories for colder weather. 

Choose Car Seats with Thick Lining

Many modern car seats include innovative features and technologies which help to regulate temperature. An example of this can be found in the Maxi Cosi Mica 360 PRO Car Seat, which includes a unique technology called ClimaFlow to regulate temperatures. This means babies can retain warmth when cold and be well-ventilated when warmer weather arrives to support the other temperature control techniques parents may have chosen. This feature can also help keep a child’s seat fresh and clean, enhancing overall safety and comfort.

Select a Car Seat Footmuff

Another way to keep a child warm and safe in the car is by choosing a car seat footmuff. As these items have been designed to be worn during car travel, they are safe to use. However, you should always carry out the safety testing we have recommended just to ensure they are not getting in the way of any safety features. Also, if a footmuff is being worn, you should eliminate any bulky clothing underneath to ensure excessive padding doesn’t become an issue.

Install a Car Seat Protector

Finally, by fitting a car seat protector, you can add another insulation layer between the car seat and the interior. This can help reduce the transmission of colder temperatures and keep the child more secure. Ensuring the passenger can remain in the intended position reduces the chance of any warming features catching up, leading to safety concerns in transit.

Find Safe Car Seats from Kiddies Kingdom

Cute,Newborn,Baby,Sleeping,In,Car,Seat,Safety,Belt,LockWith the UK experiencing colder winter and other undesirable conditions throughout the rest of the year, ensuring a child’s warmth and safety are two important considerations for parents. Hopefully now after reading this blog, you now feel more clued up on how this can be achieved with ease. 

Our collection of car seats suitable for every budget allow you to select a product that can provide optimal safety all year round. Whether you select a budget option or premium product with temperature features, by following these tips you will ensure your child is always safe and warm. Be sure to check out our full collection and other blogs to support you in keeping a baby safe whilst travelling.

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