Snowsuits in car seats… a big no no!

Baby Safety
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I felt compelled to write a post about this important safety issue: Why snowsuits/coats in carseats are a big no no! 

 

I am no expert in this and therefore am only quoting  and surmising what I have read. Please do not misinterpret this or hold me responsible, please make your own decisions and read up on this issue yourself. The leaflet I have quoted is located here: http://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/resources/2014/08/CY-049.14-Using-car-seats-safely-in-winter.pdf

The main point of this blog post is to draw attention to the issue of why snowsuits and car seats are not a safe combination. Basically snowsuits and bulky padded jackets are not safe. In a crash the snowsuit can compress and therefore the straps holding your precious baby in place are no longer tight.

I have written the above using the information within the Oxford NHS leaflet: Using Car Seats Safely In Winter (located here):

“in winter as it is hard to tell whether your harness is fitted securely if your child is wearing a thick coat or
snowsuit.

For a car seat harness to work properly, it needs to be tightly secured against your child’s chest. When a child wears a snowsuit or thick coat, the straps are often adjusted to the thickness of the coat, not the chest. However, if the car was in an accident, the coat could compress, making the straps too loose, reducing the level of protection for the child.

Overheating can also be another problem with thick coats and snowsuits.” 

 

So what does all of this mean… it means do not use bulky jackets or snowsuits in winter in the car. You will generally turn the heating on in the car anyway, so baby will be warm enough. You will generally be able to see baby much clearer if they are not wearing a bulky jacket or snowsuit. Most of all, by not wearing thick padded jackets or coat your baby will not be in a car seat which could become loose in an accident.

Test your baby’s clothes
There is a really simple test to check if the suit/jacket is too padded (again quoted from the same Oxfordshire NHS leaflet)…

Do the two finger test:

  • Put the coat on your child.
  • Strap your child into the car seat and tighten to ensure a snug fit.
  • Remove your child from the car seat without loosening the straps.
  • Take the coat off your child.
  • Strap your child back into the seat but don’t adjust the straps.
  • Do the two finger test. If you can fit more than two fingers underneath the harness at your child’s shoulder bone, the harness tension needs to be tightened, or avoid using the coat in the car seat.

(quoted from “Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust: Children’s Universal Services:  Information booklet: Using car seats safely in winter” which you can view here)

 

From what I also understand, you do not want to use any thick fleecy cover which goes under baby (between baby and the carseat) as this can also compress (again you can check anything you are using with the car seat using the two finger check above). 

I’ve been led to understand it’s best to use several thin layers which do not compress. Just do the check to see if you have slack in the straps.

 

Illustrating the problem:

My photos below illustrate my daughter (who is one) wearing her snowsuit in the car seat, followed by a photo of her without the snowsuit and the straps still as they were with the snowsuit.

Here you can see how loose the straps really are… Scary isn’t it!!

 


I’ve also shown the reverse of this process… So first she sat in the car seat with just her vest/top and leggings on, and I tightened the straps. Then you can see the picture with the snowsuit on and how much extra I have to let the straps out to get the buckle to clasp…. A good couple of inches.

New Mummy Blog - Car seats and snow suits are not safe
This issue is not just applicable to one year olds, but all ages, from newborn up.

Update: November 2017

I’ve since read suggestions to put little one’s coat on backwards, once they are strapped in i.e. strap them in and then pop their coat on backwards over their arms and covering the seatbelt. From what I’ve been led to believe, this could hinder them being removed from the car, i.e. In an emergence as the coat has to be removed before he seatbelt undone. It’s much quicker to remove a blanket. 

Please be safe, and PLEASE research this yourselves to make your own decisions,

Lynne x

 

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46 Comments

  • Reply
    Talya
    December 10, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    This is a really useful post because I just don’t think most people think about this! Personally, I don’t even put our toddler in the carseat with a coat on let alone a snowsuit. Thanks so much for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xx
    Talya recently posted…Welcome to the #coolmumclubโ€ฆweek 10!My Profile

    • Reply
      newmummy
      December 10, 2015 at 11:39 pm

      Yes coats too, anything with padding or air space!! Thanks for hosting x

  • Reply
    paul
    December 11, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    What a load of bollocks

    • Reply
      Kat
      December 12, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      That it is not! Plenty of evidence out there…

    • Reply
      newmummy
      December 18, 2015 at 8:41 am

      This is based on research and NHS advice, as well as that of doctors, so I’m afraid it’s not. The forces that act in a car crash will compress metal, so the air within a snowsuit or coat will be compressed as well, thus meaning little one is not held tightly within the car seat.

      Snowsuits are also far to warm to be wearing in cars. Little ones get too warm and are unable to regulate their own body temperature so it’s really not the best idea.

      If you’ve seen research suggesting little ones should wear snowsuits in car seats I’d love to read it…

  • Reply
    Joanna @mumbalance
    December 11, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks for writing about this. I have never considered that thick clothes can be impairing the functionality of car seats. I did think that they are too much because of the heat, but safety did not cross my mind.
    I am expecting baby number two in January and this will be something to bear in mind. My first was born in summer, so thick clothes were not a problem.
    With one baby we didn’t use the car so much, with two I think I will…
    #brilliantblogposts
    Joanna @mumbalance recently posted…Home-made natural cold remedy – suitable for young children and in pregnancyMy Profile

    • Reply
      newmummy
      December 18, 2015 at 8:36 am

      That’s ok and thank you for reading and commenting. X

  • Reply
    Julie Downes
    December 11, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Great post for this time of year. My daughter takes her coat off as soon as we get inside shops, cars etc , need to remember this for my son though. x #coolmumclub
    Julie Downes recently posted…In need of a new routine?My Profile

  • Reply
    Coombe Mill - Fiona
    December 13, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Makes sense when you point it out #SundayStars

  • Reply
    Jessica Powell
    December 13, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Really interesting to know – we only use one once a week when my MIL picks her up, but it’s still handy to know. x #KCACOLS
    Jessica Powell recently posted…My Blog NameMy Profile

  • Reply
    Pickinguptoys
    December 13, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    I remember seeing this on tv at some stage and crapping myself as I had in the past done it.Never done it since.Scary x #kcacols
    Pickinguptoys recently posted…The Story Behind The TweetMy Profile

    • Reply
      newmummy
      December 18, 2015 at 8:34 am

      I agree it’s scary isn’t it x

  • Reply
    wendy
    December 13, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    I read about this a while a go. Now I just put Leo in a thin coat with a blanket over the top and put his bulky coat on when we get out the car. This is a great post and is a very important safety issue xxx
    wendy recently posted…Living with griefMy Profile

  • Reply
    The Speed Bump
    December 13, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    I remember reading about this when my daughter was about six months old – I was horrified as we’d put her in the car seat in thick onesies before! Never done it since, we always take her coat off! #KCACOLS
    The Speed Bump recently posted…Butlins: Day OneMy Profile

    • Reply
      newmummy
      December 18, 2015 at 8:33 am

      It’s a scary thought isn’t it. I think psychologically you think you adjust the straps each time anyway so they’re fine, but different things happen in an accident unfortunately x

  • Reply
    Leigh Goldsmith
    December 14, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Yes I stopped using snowsuits for my children some time back – I found both way too hot in them!

  • Reply
    Leigh Goldsmith
    December 14, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Yes I stopped using snowsuits in the car some time back – they were way too hot in them and the safety element is another issue I hadn’t factored in!

    • Reply
      newmummy
      December 18, 2015 at 8:31 am

      Little ones are so much warmer than us half the time anyway, and in a car seat they seem to retain the heat as well, so there really are so many reasons for this post. Thanks x

  • Reply
    Crummy Mummy
    December 14, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I read about this recently and it was the first time I’d heard of the issue and BB is now 4 – well done for raising it! #The BabyFormula
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…What your Christmas cards say about youMy Profile

    • Reply
      newmummy
      December 18, 2015 at 8:30 am

      Thank you, I think it’s fairly new (the last couple of years) x

  • Reply
    Pauline
    December 14, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I don’t drive but this is a very interesting post, thankyou for bringing it to attention. I have shared it with my followers. #TheBabyFormula

    Pauline x
    Pauline recently posted…Project 52 โ€“ My Family Photo Week 15My Profile

    • Reply
      newmummy
      December 18, 2015 at 8:29 am

      Thank you for sharing it, I’d love it if everyone would x

  • Reply
    Sarah
    December 14, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    A very informative post! From what I can gather this is fairly ‘new’ advice and it makes complete sense, so I tend to always leave Oscar in just a long sleeve t-shirt and put the heating on. I said to my mum the other day that I don’t put him in his car seat in his coat and she said that when I was little, you basically just did whatever. Crazy how things change! I do find some ‘new advice’ ridiculous but I agree with this one. #TheBabyFormula
    Sarah recently posted…10 Days Till Xmas: My Blog CountdownMy Profile

    • Reply
      newmummy
      December 18, 2015 at 8:28 am

      Oh I know, my mum says the same. Here wasn’t the research hen. Actually there weren’t car seats then… it was a moses basket sat on the back seat! But there were far less cars then and they slower too. X

  • Reply
    Maestro mummy
    December 14, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    This is really interesting. Safety in cars is such a big issue- well done for highlighting it #thebabyformula

  • Reply
    Laura
    December 14, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    A really useful issue to raise awareness of. We never really put our son in the car with his coat on anyway – mainly because with the heater on too he would just be too hot! But this is a valid concern also. Thanks for sharing x #thebabyformula
    Laura recently posted…Five Tips For Managing Anxiety & Depression During The Holiday PeriodMy Profile

    • Reply
      newmummy
      December 18, 2015 at 8:25 am

      Thank you for your kind comments and for linking up x

  • Reply
    Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods)
    December 15, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Well done for sharing this because too many parents/carers don’t know about this and this is a really informative and important post

    #twinklytuesdays
    Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods) recently posted…Play Therapy And The EHCPMy Profile

  • Reply
    Annie
    December 15, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Eeek, I’d never considered the element of car-seat safety. I didn’t pop my children in their seats with their puffy snow-suits/coats open, as I didn’t want them to overheat.
    My little people are no longer so teeny, but should I have any more (?!), I’ll remember your post. xx

    • Reply
      newmummy
      December 18, 2015 at 8:22 am

      Haha yes good to know if needed! But also good to share if you don’t ?

  • Reply
    Heledd - Running in Lavender
    December 15, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Wow great post and such an important message! I never thought of this before. Thank you for linking up to #SundayStars xxx
    Heledd – Running in Lavender recently posted…Festive Dining Table IdeasMy Profile

    • Reply
      newmummy
      December 18, 2015 at 8:22 am

      Thank you and I just want to get the message out there. It’s just a simple thing to adjust really X

  • Reply
    Ellie @ Hand Me Down Baby
    December 17, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    I’m always amazed how few parents know about this, but it’s so important – seatbelts only work if they’re close to your body so they can prevent you moving forward. Anything that gets between your body and the seatbelt will affect its functionality.
    When it gets cold we make sure we warm up the car in advance – when possible – and take blankets to put over the kids to keep them warm.
    Thanks for linking up with #KCACOLS
    Ellie @ Hand Me Down Baby recently posted…On NOT Being Very CraftyMy Profile

  • Reply
    Life as Mum
    December 18, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Oh wow! That’s scary to think isn’t it.
    Great informative post.
    Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky
    Life as Mum recently posted…Pampers Baby-Dry Pants ReviewMy Profile

  • Reply
    Something Crunchy Mummy
    December 18, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    It’s scary that a simple thing as a coat could endanger a child. Great post. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx
    Something Crunchy Mummy recently posted…The A – Z Of MeMy Profile

  • Reply
    El
    December 18, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    An important message indeed! I have thought about it but then must have thought it was safe to do so because it “looks” right. Well, now I know what to look out for. Thanks for sharing with #abitofeverything.
    El recently posted…A bit of Everything Week 10My Profile

  • Reply
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    December 31, 2016 at 6:40 pm

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  • Reply
    Baby Snowsuits
    October 30, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Great artiicle for winter.My baby will wear baby snowsuit.Thank for sharing.

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