Keeping Children Safe and Warm in Their Car Seat

It’s winter. It’s cold. As parents or caregivers, we want to make sure our little ones are warm and safe while travelling in a car seat.

At a recent car seat clinic, we noticed that many parents were using “add ons” or “after-market products” with their car seat to keep their little one warm. What do we mean by “add ons” or “after-market products”? They are things that do not come with a car seat and may affect the way the seat performs in a collision. This includes items such as bunting bags, fleece liners (or any type of liner), and cushions that come between the child and the car seat.  The Ontario Ministry of Transportation recommends “Avoid using items that did not come with the car seat as they may not be safe to use.” Consumer Reports recently included this as one of the 10 dangerous mistakes parents make when using child car seats.

Use of these after-market products makes it difficult to tighten the harness which causes extra slack in the harness. Extra slack in the harness can be very dangerous; it can lead to too much forward movement of the child or even ejection of the child during a crash.

The same applies when children wear heavy winter coats in their car seat. Consumer Reports warn that a bulky coat under a child seat harness can result in the harness being too loose to be effective in a crash. They offer a simple way to check if your child’s coat is too thick to wear under the harness as well as suggestions on how to bundle up safely.

By the way, head rests that come with the seat are okay, but head rests purchased separate from the child restraint are not recommended. Car seats have not been performance tested with these add on products.

For further information and discussion on the use of coats in car seats visit:

Why Kids Shouldn’t Wear Bulky Coats in Carseats
Car Seats and Coats Don’t Get Along

Call us at 519.352.7270 x 2903 if you have any questions on how to keep your child safe and warm this winter.

Last updated: November 2018