Car seats, and thus car seat coats, are a part of our life. New England winters can be brutal. And when, like my family does, you have two cars and a one-car garage, it’s often that either my wife or myself ends up shuttling our toddler to daycare in a frigid car.
Granted, our daughter was born here and has already shown flashes of Yankee hardiness, but we don’t want her to spend the whole season frozen. And as new parents in a cold-weather climate, we quickly learned never to put a kid wearing a thick winter coat in a car seat. The extra padding creates enough space between the child and the harness ⏤ even though you can’t really tell when you tighten it ⏤ to effectively render the car seat useless and your kid unsafe in an accident.
So, on the days we trek to the car parked outside, I’m always dressed warmly in a nice puffy coat while my daughter is clad in a light fleece jacket. It’s too short of a walk to bother dressing her in a bulky coat, but it hardly seems fair (or safe) to make her freeze. So when a mental health counselor and single mom of three from New Hampshire reached out to say she had invented a winter coat that solved the problem, I was more than ready to listen to her, a fellow New Englander.
Her company, Buckle Me, is a line of $99 winter coats that babies and kids can safely wear in a car seat. They’re handmade, high quality, and fleece-lined. They come equipped with a poly-nylon shell and elastic cuffs at the wrists that you can tighten to trap body heat. The machine-washable coats feature a quarter-zip front opening and a cozy kangaroo pouch to keep hands warm.
What makes it special, though, is that it’s safe for kids to wear in car seats. The coat opens on the side instead of the middle, turning the front into a solid panel instead of one that’s split in half. Once unfastened, the front panel can be pulled back so the car seat’s shoulder harnesses can be secured directly over the child’s chest as you normally would, with no padding in the way.
The back of the coat is also designed to be thinner to reduce excess bulk. When your child is buckled in, you can either fold the front of the coat back over to keep her cozy or tuck it out of the way to avoid any overheating. Velcro strips and four outer snaps keep the coat closed. The coat performed well in independent crash tests. If you don’t believe us, you can check out the videos on their website.
The directions are straightforward and easy to follow: Simply put your kid in the seat, pull the front of the coat back and thread under the opposite shoulder harness, and tighten the straps as you would otherwise.
The Road Coat has been crash tested, according to the brand, and is compatible with car seat use.
And here’s another jacket that meets the criteria for car seat safety: The Road Coat. It has a thin front inner layer that allows the harness to lay flat and snug against your kid’s chest. It has split collar construction that lets the harness straps pass to the front and lay flat on kids’ shoulders.
This genius wrap works with any car seat or stroller, and has been approved by the Car Seat Lady.
Yes, this wrap is snug and warm. But what makes it car seat-safe is an oval back cutout that gets rid of the extra layers of material between the harness and baby’s back. The baby won’t slip around. And you get easy access to your kid. The Nido has been tested in car seats according to the FMVSS 213 test protocol to make sure that they do not interfere with the car seat’s Child Restraint System.
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