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This Common Mistake May Be Putting Your Child's Life at Risk

infant standing on the beach wearing a jacket and jeans

A parent's first priority is their child's safety! When most people think of keeping their babies safe, one of the first things that comes to mind after safe sleep is their safety while traveling. The summer months, especially here in Florida can get brutally hot and we all know why that can be a safety risk for littles ones. Children rely on their caregivers to be sure they don't overheat.

But, what about wintertime?

In the winter as temperatures drop, we pull out the winter attire to bundle our babes up and keep them cozy and warm. Young children and infants can get cold much faster than adults so it's important to bundle them up when they are outside. However, with all of the bundling going on comes bulkiness. Bulky winter coats put your child's life at risk if they wear them while in their car seats.

How you ask?

Car seats are meticulously designed to provide optimal protection in the event of a crash. The effectiveness of a car seat, however, relies on a secure and tight harness to keep the child in place. Bulky winter coats, despite offering warmth, create a dangerous gap between the child and the harness straps.

Extensive crash tests and safety studies have revealed that the fluffiness of winter coats compresses upon impact, leaving the harness too loose to adequately restrain the child. This unexpected slack increases the risk of injury as the child may be propelled forward or even ejected from the car seat during a collision. This can put your child's life at risk.

The best car seat for your child is one that is right for their age and height and will be used correctly each and every time. Part of that is with a properly fitting harness.

How thick is too thick?

Generally, a layer of clothing and a lightweight fleece jacket is about all that can be worn between your child and their car seat straps without being too much. Of course, there will be times a fleece jacket won't cut it for going outside in the elements. Wear those puffer jackets around the playground or in the backward with pride! When it's time to put your child into their car seat just remember to remove them. Go ahead and cover them with a blanket or flip their coat backwards over them after they are properly secured in their car seat.

Not sure if you're putting your child's life at risk with their winter coat?

Let's take a look at a few examples.

two toddlers wearing winter coats

Too Thick

In the first photo we see two toddlers wearing coats/jackets that are too thick to secure their harness straps correctly. We give these style coats a thumbs up for the playground, but a thumbs down for the car seat. Their coats should be removed, they should be secured properly into their car seats, and their coats can be placed over them backwards to keep them warm if needed.

Two toddlers and an infant wearing fleece jackets

Just Right

In the second photo we see two toddlers and an infant that are all wearing jackets that are thin enough to ensure their harness straps are secure while wearing them in their car seats.

We give these jackets a thumbs up for being just the right thickness to be left on while theses kiddos ride.

The Jacksonville Baby Company believes there is no right or wrong way to give birth or parent, only different ways. But when it comes to car seats, guns, and water, these things can often be unforgiving, so those are our only caveats. Remember, the best car seat for your child is one that is right for their age and height and will be used correctly each and every time. If you still aren't sure if your child's coat or jacket can be worn safely while they are in their car seat, or you have questions or concerns you can get your car seat install checked and bring those coats along with you. We have a certified child passenger safety technician on staff, and we come to you! You can also find other technicians or find a car seat check in your area by visiting

woman wearing glasses and smiling

Authored by Elizabeth Luke

Elizabeth is the founder and CEO of The Jacksonville Baby Company. Elizabeth and her husband and best friend, Richard are parents to four children. With certifications in Postpartum and Infant Care Support, Childbirth and Newborn Care Education, Lactation Support, and Infant Sleep, Elizabeth is a wealth of knowledge and has a heart for helping parents live their best lives while also ensuring their children are safe, happy, and leading their healthiest lives possible! Contact us today to invest in your motherhood journey!

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