Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008
Car Seat Coat: Keeping Babies Warm in Winter
How do you keep your baby warm in a freezing car?
Common safety convention dictates that you take your baby’s coat or snow suit off. The extra padding hinders the ability of a seat harness to hold the baby tight enough to keep him safe in a car crash.
Enter the latest hopeful mom invention, the Car Seat Coat.
This garment is a fleece two-piece coverall that fits like a coat while also resembling a two-layer blanket. The first piece goes on like a full-body sleeper that covers the baby everywhere except his head and chest. A separate hood covers everything else, leaving only the baby’s face peeking out.
The coat is best explained with this brief product video:
Several other videos are also available.
Step 1: Lay the baby on the garment, and tuck his limbs inside fleece arm and leg "tubes." Elastic on the entry holes helps ease placement.
Step 2: Secure the seat harness around the baby’s torso. Because the coat doesn’t have a chest piece, there isn’t extra bulk below the harness.
Step 3: Attach a hood that folds down over the baby’s chest and body while leaving a snug hole for his face. At this point the coat almost resembles an odd-looking burqa.
The coat’s features include:
- Two fleece layers that snap together. Remove one layer on warmer days.
- Selection of 26 fabric patterns.
- Easy removal of arms or legs from the garment or removal of the hood to regulate body heat.
- Unlike a blanket, a baby won’t throw off these covers.
As of this writing, the coat is sold in three sizes, birth to 6 months, 6 to 12 months and 12 to 18 months for $50 and $8 shipping in the US.
Sure, there are alternative products, namely blanket cozies that attach to a car seat or stroller, but Car Seat Coat is a bit more versatile. What’s to stop you from using it in a stroller, car seat, sling and generally anywhere you might go in the cold?
I’d be the first parent to shout, "But why not just use a blanket?" After all, a blanket generally works for any age, and is good for swaddling and bedtime too.
And yet, there are people who buy special swaddling blankets that have unusual shapes or Velcro straps or snaps, all in an effort to achieve a better, tighter, stronger swaddle. In that light, Car Seat Coat has improved upon blankets, yes?
Here on the California coast, our winters are 35 to 45 degrees at night, but we don’t usually travel at night and our days are warmer. So, I’m not one to speculate too much. What measures do you, or have you, employed for baby warmth in colder climates?
Update: After reading Lisa C.’s cautionary comment below, I had to a local child car seat workshop instructor look over the website. She says the rule of thumb is to have a baby’s back directly against the car seat with only padding that has been tested with a particular car seat in order to protect the spine. The seat helps spread out the forces of a collision.
She was concerned about the fleece’s thickness and how much may bunch up between the baby’s back and the seat, and whether that gap would lessen the ability to have the harness properly snug. So, she would not recommend this product.
I guess the inventor should, if she hasn’t already, run the product by car seat experts and obtain some expert endorsements to address these types of questions.