Disclosure: I received a Buckle Me Baby Coats sample to assess. All opinions are my own.
Puffy coats and car seats don’t mix. Many parents may not realize the dangers of strapping their child into a car seat while wearing a winter coat.
The Dangers of Wearing Puffy Coats in Car Seats
Did you know that winter coats leave up to 4 inches of space between your child and the car seat harness? This means kids can slide around or even be thrown out of the seat in a car crash. The risk of critical injury increases if the child is not correctly secured in the car seat. The harness must lay tightly on the child’s chest, and the car seat needs to be properly tethered at the top in order to reduce these risks.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “Winter coats should not be worn underneath the harness of the car seat.” HealthyKids.org explains, “Fluffy padding flattens in a crash, leaving extra space. A child can then slip through the straps and be thrown from the seat.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that “the risk of serious injury or death can be reduced by about half with proper car seat usage.”
How Parents Have Addressed the Issue
Some parents are simply not aware of the dangers associated with thick coats and car seats. For those who are aware, it’s often a struggle to address the issue. They usually fall into one of these two categories:
- Take Off Child’s Coat – Parents may take off their child’s coat prior to strapping him into the car seat. This is the proper thing to do as it allows the harness to lay directly over the child’s chest and shoulders.
- Leave the Coat On Anyway – Although parents may be aware of the risks, they may continue to strap their child into the car seat even if the child is wearing a coat. They may find that removing the coat is not practical. During the winter it may be too cold to leave the child coatless. Even if the child is covered with a blanket, it’s still not as warm as a coat, and it can fall off. Many parents also encounter challenges with taking off and putting the coat back on the child, especially if the child does not cooperate.
A Mom, An Innovative Idea, and the Birth of Buckle Me Baby Coats
Dahlia Rizk, a New Hampshire mom of three, wanted the best in car seat safety for her kids but struggled with taking the coat off every time. She wondered why the zipper had to be in the middle of the coat and pondered if there was a better way to design a car seat-friendly coat. Dahlia experimented by cutting up old coats. She discovered that a side-opening coat eliminated the bulky fabric in the front of traditional coats. It also allowed for the removal of shoulder padding, thus providing access for the harness to sit directly on the chest and shoulders.
With a design in mind, Dahlia launched Buckle Me Baby Coats which eliminated the need to sacrifice safety for convenience. Parents could leave the coat on the child in the car seat while securing the harness on the child properly.
Advantages of Buckle Me Baby Coats versus Traditional Winter Coats
- Removeable front – Child can keep her coat on while wearing the harness directly on her chest. The front can then be rolled to the side or draped back onto the chest area to keep the child warm.
- Open shoulders – This feature allows the harness to directly fall over shoulders onto the chest.
- Thin Back – The coat has a thin back, thus minimizing the space between the child and the car seat to keep him secure while still keeping him warm. Although the back is thinner than the front, the density of the insulation is the same.
How to Use Buckle Me Baby Coats
Buckle Me Baby Coats are not just for babies (starting at size 12 months), but also for older children up to size 8. The coat works with any type of seat belt or harness. This means that even kids using regular seat belts with booster seats can use the coats. Dahlia noted that she’s had quite a few parents order the coats for special needs children in belted wheelchairs. Buckle Me Baby Coats are easy for parents to use. See the guide and video below for instructions.
Crash Test Results and Safety Considerations
An independent University crash test facility has crash-tested Buckle Me Baby Coats. The coats not only outperformed traditional coats but also performed similarly to when children were wearing no coat at all.
Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) and first responders evaluated Buckle Me Baby Coats. They loved the design and approved of the coats. In discussing post-crash testing results, they recommended no hoods for the coats (which had been in the original design). They were concerned the hood could fall behind the back and create space. For this reason, the hood was removed.
Where to Find Buckle Me Baby Coats
Buckle Me Baby Coats are manufactured in the USA. Coats are available in sizes 2T to 8. Colors available include Deepest of Oceans (blue), The Orange-Inal (orange), Power of Pink (pink), Indi-Go-Go-Go (purple), I Lava You (red), and The Warrior Within (army green). Prices range from $89.99 to $99.99 with free shipping and 30-day returns. Purchase and find more information at BuckleMeCoats.com.
Car seats and coats don’t have to be a dangerous mix if you have the right coat. Thank goodness there’s now a solution with Buckle Me Baby Coats.