Keep Kids Safe in the Cold in the Car

Car seats can’t do their job if they aren’t used correctly. We count on the harness to keep a child IN the car seat during a crash. Bulky or puffy coats prevent the harness from doing their job and may not hold the child in the car seat in a crash. Additionally, “bundle me” style car seat covers that go behind the child create added bulk and interfere with how the child fits in the car seat.


How can you keep your child warm?

  • Fleece or hoodie with a hat is enough for most situations
  • Car seat poncho (for toddlers and older)
  • Put coat on backwards over arms
  • Tuck blanket around child OVER straps
  • Inside layer of coat or some very thin winter coats that pass the  Safe Coat Test can be used in the car seat
  • For infant carrier: shower cap style covers are ok
  • Wear bulky coat to the car, take off, & then do one of the above

Safe Coat Test

To test if a coat is safe in the car: put child wearing the coat in the car seat; tighten correctly*; take child out without loosening straps; take off coat; put child back in car seat. If the straps need to be tightened more than the usual difference between layers of clothes, it means the coat created too much bulk between the child and the harness and it is NOT safe to be used in the car. There is no gu

aranteed car seat safe coat. All options need to be tested with YOUR child in YOUR car seat. Coats that are sized up often add extra unsafe bulk.

Other Resources

CSFTL Hello Winter, Goodbye Coats   |   The Car Seat Lady: Warm and Safe

26734143_1917604811886628_1779279804494135128_n*A correctly tightened harness passes “The Pinch Test” (you cannot pinch any fabric of the harness above the chest clip)

**The first photo shows the unsafe bulk a coat puts between the child and the harness even when it is tightened over the coat

Types of Forward Facing Car Seats

RBB combo seat7.jpg

***Types of Forward Facing Car Seats***

I get asked a lot of questions about types of forward facing car seats. There is often a lot of confusion between these types of seats and what they are called. Often times caregivers ask about moving to a “booster” when they mean a “combination” car seat (forward facing only car seat with a 5 point harness that turns into a booster). Combination seats are sometimes called “harnessed booster” by manufacturers; however, the term “harness to booster” is a more accurate description. An actual “booster” or a “belt-positioning booster” uses the seat belt of the car only.

Hopefully this graphic will help clear up the difference between these seats!

convertible car seat: rear facing, forward facing with harness

multi-mode/all-in-one car seat: rear facing, forward facing with harness, belt positioning booster

combination car seat: forward facing with harness, belt positioning booster

*There is no safety difference between these seats when forward facing for a child who fits the limits and is the right age for the seat
*Child must be at least 2 years old, ideally 3-4, before forward facing
*Child must be at least 5 and mature enough to sit correctly to use a booster

For more extensive information about forward facing:
Car Seats for The Littles:
Forward Facing: The Hows and The Whys
The Right Seat for the Forward Facing Child
Converting a seat from Rear Facing to Forward Facing

The Car Seat Lady:
Forward Facing Seats

Illinois Law Update: Rear Facing Until 2

Reminder for Illinoisans:

Earlier this year the governor signed the mandatory rear facing until 2 law and it goes into effect on January 1, 2019. This is an exciting move for Illinois to be one of the states making legal changes to keep kids safer.

Car crashes continue to be the leading cause of accidental death in children over 4 and the second most in children 1-4. Driving is the most dangerous thing we do every day and each of us can make a difference in saving lives by correctly securing every child in an appropriate restraint for every ride.

It has long been the recommendation to rear face until a minimum of 2 years old, and up to the limits of your seat beyond that; however, in IL will now also be a legal requirement.

Convertible car seats start rear facing and then can be used forward facing. They come in a variety of styles, fits, and height/weight requirements. If you are purchasing a new seat, check with a CPST to ensure the seat meets your needs. If you use an infant seat for your baby, your child will move to a convertible car seat that is rear facing next.

If you have any questions, please let me knowIMG_0714.PNG