Car seats are a part of parents’ lives. As is winter weather. But car seats and puffy coats don’t mix. Not even a little. Standard coats, no matter how thin, should never be worn underneath a car seat harness because it can leave the harness too loose to be effective in a crash.
But if you live in New England, like us, winter is no joke. 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. 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.
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.
Her company, Buckle Me, is a line of 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.
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.
Another solid option: You simply slip the cover over the car seat, and there's no fabric between the baby and the car seat straps. This cover is lightweight enough to be used during a variety of seasons.
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