Winter clothing and car seats - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 10-15-2007, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Since it's going to be getting cold soon, I was wondering what you other mamas do to keep your little ones warm in the car seat. I've read that you shouldn't use bulky coats in car seats, right?

So what do you do? Remove coat and put it back on when you arrive at destination? Keep a blanket in the car to cover child while in the car seat? Any other tips or ideas?

Amanda , mama to my two boys: N (10/06) and : A (7/09)
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#2 of 28 Old 10-15-2007, 11:17 AM
 
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I normally put a fleece sweatshirt on ds and cover him up with a blanket in the car. If it's a long walk to/from the car I bring his coat and he wears it then. If it's just a short walk I throw a blanket around him.

ETA- this is our first winter in Kentucky so I have no idea how cold it gets. We lived in Michigan before this and froze our butts off. Many days of warming up the car before getting in.

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#3 of 28 Old 10-15-2007, 11:20 AM
 
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This year we're using the 3 in 1 or 4 in 1 jackets. They have a zip out fleece jacket that is safe for in the car and then a heavier coat you can throw over it for outside. Ilana has several other light jackets as well that would work for when it's not too cold, like now.

Jennifer, LPN and nursing student, Doula, CPST, and VBAC mama x3 to
AJ (5/03), Evan (12/04), Ilana (11/06), Olivia (2/09), and Unity (8/2012)

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#4 of 28 Old 10-15-2007, 03:52 PM
 
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n.b., I live in Pennsylvania where our winters are relatively mild. We get a few good freakin' cold days, but none of the "can't warm the car up fast enough to prevent frostbite" kind of days.

Anyway, I will layer my girls in a few layers of clothing and a sweater or light jacket. Nothing floofy. Before I even knew that I wasn't to put them in the car seat in fluffy parkas, they refused to wear them in the carseat because they were uncomfortable. They are comfortable with a few light layers and sweater/jacket. I always keep a couple lap blankets in the car for them, or in the house by the door so they stay warm; I tuck those around the girls' laps once they're buckled in. I'm especially careful to bundle up their feet, because freezing toesies are miserable - and miserable girlies strapped into car seats make for one miserable mommy at the steering wheel, and it all goes downhill from there : So they'll have cotton tights under jeans, with socks and sturdy shoes: maybe even doubling up the socks.

So on a really cold day, an outfit might look like: short sleeved undershirt, long sleeved shirt, cotton tights, socks, jeans or leggings, and a dress or long tunic overtop all; plus a sweater, mittens and a hat. I like to put them in a hooded sweater with a pilot cap underneath - the pilot cap helps hold the hood up. Just make sure if the hood is down, it doesn't get bunched up behind the kid's back in the carseat, or she'll be miserable 10 minutes into your ride.
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#5 of 28 Old 10-15-2007, 04:51 PM
 
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I live in the southwest where our winters are mild. I just take the coat off before strapping them in. DD is usually okay with just her long-sleeved shirt, but I keep a blanket in the car just in case.

You can also consider a product like the Carseat Poncho, designed specifically for this problem:

http://www.carseatponcho.com/

Mama to Boy (2) and Girl (5)
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#6 of 28 Old 10-15-2007, 04:58 PM
 
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I live in Alaska and I would usually put a thinner fleece jacket on ds as I strap him in the seat then I just put a winter jacket as we get out of the car.
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#7 of 28 Old 10-15-2007, 06:34 PM
 
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Are there any videos about this? Dh has agreed to remove jackets before putting kids in the seats but he thinks I am just over-protective and doesn't believe they could really fly out of their seat in a crash. Are there any crash-test videos of this?

Blessed mama of four
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#8 of 28 Old 10-15-2007, 07:14 PM
 
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i just dress them in layers of thin cotton and usually don't use a coat. i cover their head and ears and feet and sometimes hands and throw a blanket around them on the way out to the car. then once in the car, i do keep the blanket around them since it is more room temperature than the cold car. if the chid was going to play outside i'd use a coat but if they are just traveling from one indoor place to another then i don't really worry about a coat. also, i have a one piece sweater knit suit that isn't bulky, but it is warm.

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#9 of 28 Old 10-16-2007, 03:36 PM
 
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we always just do a light fleece jacket for the car. i keep blankets in the car to go over their legs (and bodies) if they get cold. i bring a coat with me if we will be outside for a long time, but for normal running in and out the jacket is just fine. i wear the same thing myself and i'm always comfortable. we've lived in upstate NY and NYC for the past 5 years and have had some really cold winters.
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#10 of 28 Old 10-17-2007, 07:50 PM
 
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NIce ideas so far but none of them would work for me. I live in northern Atlantic Canada off the Atlantic ocean. It gets bitterly cold with freezing high winds during the winter. You can't go two feet outside without a winter coat on AND snowpants. Our garage is not heated or attached . AS far as heating the car up beforehand it takes like 15 min to even get it to reasonable temperature but we cannot afford to waste that much gas.
Is there a solution I am missing? IF you pull the straps tight how dangerous is it really?
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#11 of 28 Old 10-17-2007, 08:13 PM
 
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NIce ideas so far but none of them would work for me. I live in northern Atlantic Canada off the Atlantic ocean. It gets bitterly cold with freezing high winds during the winter. You can't go two feet outside without a winter coat on AND snowpants. Our garage is not heated or attached . AS far as heating the car up beforehand it takes like 15 min to even get it to reasonable temperature but we cannot afford to waste that much gas.
Is there a solution I am missing? IF you pull the straps tight how dangerous is it really?
Still very dangerous. When your child's body puts 90kph worth for force on the harness straps, all that batting/filling in the coat is going to compress to virtually nothing. Essentially, it's the same as leaving the harness straps several inches too loose during the crash.

Does your garage have electricity? If so, you could get a large electric blanket and drape it over the seat. You'll have to go out to the car a little early before leaving, but it should heat up the carseat some. Then when it's time to get in the car, you'll obviously have to unplug the blanket, but it should stay warm enough to keep kiddo warm while the car heats up.

Mama to Boy (2) and Girl (5)
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#12 of 28 Old 10-17-2007, 11:42 PM
 
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Are there any videos about this? Dh has agreed to remove jackets before putting kids in the seats but he thinks I am just over-protective and doesn't believe they could really fly out of their seat in a crash. Are there any crash-test videos of this?
Have your DH bundle up baby like he would like to, heavy coat, lots of clothes, etc. Then buckle them in to their seat and make the straps like he normally would. Then unbuckle and remove the heavy coat/extra layers and rebuckle w/out moving the straps. That's how loose they would essentially be in a crash.

Jennifer, LPN and nursing student, Doula, CPST, and VBAC mama x3 to
AJ (5/03), Evan (12/04), Ilana (11/06), Olivia (2/09), and Unity (8/2012)

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#13 of 28 Old 10-18-2007, 09:58 AM
 
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Ontario mama here.

We dress the kids in thin layers (undershirt, long-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt), and keep the coat over their laps. They wear hats / mitts in the car too, which helps a lot on cold days.

Canadian mom to Boo (Aug '02), Bug (Aug '04) and Bear (Dec '06).
Jesse (July '09)
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#14 of 28 Old 10-18-2007, 11:29 AM
 
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they actually have electric blankets that plug into your cars cigarette lighter, i think one onestepahead.com so i would say, dress them as usual, then as soon as you get in the car, take off the coat/snowpants, buckle, and cover with a blanket. you can put the coat on backwards over their bodies, too.
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#15 of 28 Old 10-18-2007, 11:50 AM
 
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they actually have electric blankets that plug into your cars cigarette lighter, i think one onestepahead.com so i would say, dress them as usual, then as soon as you get in the car, take off the coat/snowpants, buckle, and cover with a blanket. you can put the coat on backwards over their bodies, too.
That's a good idea! I initially thought a battery-operated blanket would be good, but apparently nobody actually makes one (plenty of people have thought of the idea, though).

Mama to Boy (2) and Girl (5)
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#16 of 28 Old 10-20-2007, 08:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thepeach80 View Post
Have your DH bundle up baby like he would like to, heavy coat, lots of clothes, etc. Then buckle them in to their seat and make the straps like he normally would. Then unbuckle and remove the heavy coat/extra layers and rebuckle w/out moving the straps. That's how loose they would essentially be in a crash.
Great idea, I'll have to show this to my husband
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#17 of 28 Old 10-23-2007, 11:54 AM
 
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I am in Toronto (Canada) so coldish but not deep freeze - and I don't put them in with jackets etc, just cotton/fleece light sweaters. They aren't going to freeze but they will bake with a coat on - I would rather see my kiddos a little chilled, then hot and sweaty in the car and really freeze outside because they are damp.

So, we move very very fast when we are putting them in the car. The blankets come from inside (so not cold).

The baby will be a bit different - not sure what I will do. I have a very thin down feather one piece snowsuit which is very warm. I will probably use that, unzipped and put a hat on his head.

I cannot imagine sitting in a carseat in a jacket - so uncomfortable. bTW - I don't wear a winter jacket in the car either. It is a bit cold for the first 2-5 minutes but it warms up quickly.
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#18 of 28 Old 10-23-2007, 01:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Spirit Dancer View Post
NIce ideas so far but none of them would work for me. I live in northern Atlantic Canada off the Atlantic ocean. It gets bitterly cold with freezing high winds during the winter. You can't go two feet outside without a winter coat on AND snowpants. Our garage is not heated or attached . AS far as heating the car up beforehand it takes like 15 min to even get it to reasonable temperature but we cannot afford to waste that much gas.
Is there a solution I am missing? IF you pull the straps tight how dangerous is it really?
I'm in Manitoba. In winter here, it's not uncommon for us to get -40*C/F cold snaps that easily last a week or two -- and that's not factoring in the wind chill, which can easily reach -50*C/-58*F or colder. And after a few days of temps like that and being stuck indoors, one and their kids tends to get a stir crazy and *has* to get out. I'm sure you know how it is.

I feel like I need to put this kind of cold into perspective b/c in similar threads I've noticed a lot of the people who reply are in climates that experience WAY milder winter temps -- ie, your "cold" is what we go out in sweaters/fleeces and *maybe* a toque and mitts, if the wind's up. Even after letting the car warm up for 20+ minutes (we do not have a garage so our car is parked outside in these temps and I won't even start on how expensive and wasteful letting the car idle for that long is), at such extreme cold temps, the car interior is not warm at all and the car seats are, obviously, nowhere near warm. Also, in that kind of cold, it takes less than one minute for frostbite to set in. So we really are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do we bundle up our kids to lessen the frostbite risk and exposure to extreme cold and therefore increase the risk of ejection in a crash? Or do we under dress the kids, put them in very cold car seats to lessen the chance of ejection in a crash but at the same time, they're more exposed and vulnerable to the extreme cold, which can have serious consequences also.

So, for trips around town (where it usually takes 5 minutes or less to get to our destination), I have to choose the lesser of 2 evils. I keep the kids bundled up. : I can't risk exposing them to that cold. I get their straps as tight as I can (they have down filled coats so they do compress quite a bit) and, most importantly, I drive defensively to lessen my chances of being in a crash. I keep a fair distance between myself and the car in front of me. I drive for the conditions . . . if that means doing 25km/hr in a 50, so be it. I am aware of vehicles near me and I approach all intersections w/caution, even light controlled ones. I realize I'm taking a risk by having my kids still in their jackets and snowpants so I try to minimize that risk by driving defensively. But I still can't help but feel like a terrible mother for doing so b/c I know I'm going to hear it about how I'm totally endangering them by keeping them bundled up. Either way, I'm endangering them. It's a lose/lose situation for us.

For out of town trips and trips around town when it's not as cold (say -20*C/-4*F ), we put them in fleece-lined jackets, their toques and mitts and cover them w/their fleece tie blankets.

Mama to my 3 wild things.

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#19 of 28 Old 10-23-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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It gets cold here, but not usually below zero. I didn't know about not leaving coats on under the carseat straps until almost the end of last winter. Thankfully we did not get in any accidents.

But now that I know, I bought him a fleece jacket for this winter. Land's End makes one called the Marinac, which is a fleece with a windproof layer and warmer than a regular fleece. I bought one for myself too. He also has a heavier coat he can wear outside to play, but the fleece one will be good for us to go to and from the car. These start at size 4 though, so I'm not sure about what to do for smaller/younger kids. When he was a baby, I put a blanket over him after he was buckled in.
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#20 of 28 Old 10-24-2007, 12:35 AM
 
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This is really hard for me. I understand the concept but I have a really, really hard time not getting him all bundled up when we're going outside. I need to find a nice fleece jacket for him, I guess.

Oh and sweetcheeks I feel your pain. We're in southern BC now, so it doesn't get nearly so cold, but I lived in Alberta for a long time. I know that when you say it gets cold, you mean COLD. I can't even imagine not bundling a kiddo up in that.

~m. Mama to two! DS (11/2006) and DD (07/2010).

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#21 of 28 Old 10-24-2007, 06:43 PM
 
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I second the recommendation for the 3-1/4-1 jackets with the fleece inner jackets and extra layer! One other thing I've found that's great to put over a kiddo in the car is a fleece poncho. With the fleece jacket on, I buckle them into the seat, then I slip the poncho over their heads if it's crazy cold and it drapes over them like a blanket.
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#22 of 28 Old 10-25-2007, 01:01 AM
 
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I'm in Manitoba. In winter here, it's not uncommon for us to get -40*C/F cold snaps that easily last a week or two -- and that's not factoring in the wind chill, which can easily reach -50*C/-58*F or colder. And after a few days of temps like that and being stuck indoors, one and their kids tends to get a stir crazy and *has* to get out. I'm sure you know how it is.

I feel like I need to put this kind of cold into perspective b/c in similar threads I've noticed a lot of the people who reply are in climates that experience WAY milder winter temps -- ie, your "cold" is what we go out in sweaters/fleeces and *maybe* a toque and mitts, if the wind's up. Even after letting the car warm up for 20+ minutes (we do not have a garage so our car is parked outside in these temps and I won't even start on how expensive and wasteful letting the car idle for that long is), at such extreme cold temps, the car interior is not warm at all and the car seats are, obviously, nowhere near warm. Also, in that kind of cold, it takes less than one minute for frostbite to set in. So we really are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do we bundle up our kids to lessen the frostbite risk and exposure to extreme cold and therefore increase the risk of ejection in a crash? Or do we under dress the kids, put them in very cold car seats to lessen the chance of ejection in a crash but at the same time, they're more exposed and vulnerable to the extreme cold, which can have serious consequences also.

So, for trips around town (where it usually takes 5 minutes or less to get to our destination), I have to choose the lesser of 2 evils. I keep the kids bundled up. : I can't risk exposing them to that cold. I get their straps as tight as I can (they have down filled coats so they do compress quite a bit) and, most importantly, I drive defensively to lessen my chances of being in a crash. I keep a fair distance between myself and the car in front of me. I drive for the conditions . . . if that means doing 25km/hr in a 50, so be it. I am aware of vehicles near me and I approach all intersections w/caution, even light controlled ones. I realize I'm taking a risk by having my kids still in their jackets and snowpants so I try to minimize that risk by driving defensively. But I still can't help but feel like a terrible mother for doing so b/c I know I'm going to hear it about how I'm totally endangering them by keeping them bundled up. Either way, I'm endangering them. It's a lose/lose situation for us.

For out of town trips and trips around town when it's not as cold (say -20*C/-4*F ), we put them in fleece-lined jackets, their toques and mitts and cover them w/their fleece tie blankets.
we're in MB too, and we feel the same way. These kids are *little* and not as capable of maintaining their body temp as adults are. Strapping them into a frozen carseat is dangerous, and a 100% risk of exposure, while having them tightly strapped in with their less bulky but warm jacket is way less of a risk than the exposure that would certainly happen if they were jsut wearing a carseat poncho or something. those ponchos are simply not enough for here...
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#23 of 28 Old 10-26-2007, 01:25 AM
 
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I'm in Manitoba. In winter here, it's not uncommon for us to get -40*C/F cold snaps that easily last a week or two -- and that's not factoring in the wind chill, which can easily reach -50*C/-58*F or colder. And after a few days of temps like that and being stuck indoors, one and their kids tends to get a stir crazy and *has* to get out. I'm sure you know how it is.

I feel like I need to put this kind of cold into perspective b/c in similar threads I've noticed a lot of the people who reply are in climates that experience WAY milder winter temps -- ie, your "cold" is what we go out in sweaters/fleeces and *maybe* a toque and mitts, if the wind's up. Even after letting the car warm up for 20+ minutes (we do not have a garage so our car is parked outside in these temps and I won't even start on how expensive and wasteful letting the car idle for that long is), at such extreme cold temps, the car interior is not warm at all and the car seats are, obviously, nowhere near warm. Also, in that kind of cold, it takes less than one minute for frostbite to set in. So we really are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do we bundle up our kids to lessen the frostbite risk and exposure to extreme cold and therefore increase the risk of ejection in a crash? Or do we under dress the kids, put them in very cold car seats to lessen the chance of ejection in a crash but at the same time, they're more exposed and vulnerable to the extreme cold, which can have serious consequences also.

So, for trips around town (where it usually takes 5 minutes or less to get to our destination), I have to choose the lesser of 2 evils. I keep the kids bundled up. : I can't risk exposing them to that cold. I get their straps as tight as I can (they have down filled coats so they do compress quite a bit) and, most importantly, I drive defensively to lessen my chances of being in a crash. I keep a fair distance between myself and the car in front of me. I drive for the conditions . . . if that means doing 25km/hr in a 50, so be it. I am aware of vehicles near me and I approach all intersections w/caution, even light controlled ones. I realize I'm taking a risk by having my kids still in their jackets and snowpants so I try to minimize that risk by driving defensively. But I still can't help but feel like a terrible mother for doing so b/c I know I'm going to hear it about how I'm totally endangering them by keeping them bundled up. Either way, I'm endangering them. It's a lose/lose situation for us.

For out of town trips and trips around town when it's not as cold (say -20*C/-4*F ), we put them in fleece-lined jackets, their toques and mitts and cover them w/their fleece tie blankets.
Another MB'er here chiming in. Sweetcheeks has explained our dilemma extremely well. I just wanted to add one more point. We travel on the highways a fair bit. If we were to get in an accident I feel that my children would be at a much higher risk of being injured by exposure to the elements while waiting for help than an injury caused by wearing their coats in their car seats. When frostbite starts in under a minute, there's not much time to wait (strapped in the seat of course b/c you wouldn't move them until you know they are uninjured).

So yes, when the weather is amenable, we do wear the appropriate clothing and take it off to ride in seats. But when we are at our extremes in the winter (which is not just one or two days a year here - last year it was almost 6-8 weeks worth), we wear coats in the car.
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#24 of 28 Old 10-26-2007, 11:53 AM
 
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So far no one has mentioned those fleece "baby sacks" with the openings for car seat straps. Are they terribly unsafe, or do many people not use them? I have one for dd. It has arms but is just a bag on the bottom, with a place for the bottom restraint to go through. It is not bulky like a puffy coat but warmer than a fleece jacket and pants, imo.

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#25 of 28 Old 10-26-2007, 01:04 PM
 
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So far no one has mentioned those fleece "baby sacks" with the openings for car seat straps. Are they terribly unsafe, or do many people not use them? I have one for dd. It has arms but is just a bag on the bottom, with a place for the bottom restraint to go through. It is not bulky like a puffy coat but warmer than a fleece jacket and pants, imo.
I've heard that these are not safe, as they are adding an extra layer between the seat and baby. But there is a version that goes around the top of the seat with elastic that is safe.
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#26 of 28 Old 10-26-2007, 10:13 PM
 
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the baby sacks. One is that the fluffier ones, like the "lambskin" type Dundle Me's, are too bulky in between the baby's back and the shell of the seat. The other is that they can block your ability to see if the harness straps are in the correct slot for your baby's height. In an infant seat, straps should be at or just below shoulder height. It is really not a good idea to have the straps in slots that are TOO low. For a baby seat, the shower cap style is best.

In a convertible seat, I agree with Chickety -- a poncho is great!
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#27 of 28 Old 11-01-2007, 09:49 PM
 
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Where I grew up in New England we had several weeks of below zero weather, roads that were rarely driven on and no heater in some of the cars my parents drove. A similar equation. My mother's solution was to get sleeping bags for us kids (the hooded kind, mummy are they still called?), cut and seam a hole in the back of the hood so our faces would poke through (and condensation wouldn't build up from breathing into them). When we were buckled in, we would put our legs into the half zippered sleeping bags and pull the hood up over our face. There may have been a snap behind our heads that helped the hood stay up. There was no sleeping bag between us and the car seat, just on top of us and around our legs. I remember being able to hold a book under the sleeping bag at chest level and still read it.




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Originally Posted by sweetcheeks View Post
I'm in Manitoba. In winter here, it's not uncommon for us to get -40*C/F cold snaps that easily last a week or two -- and that's not factoring in the wind chill, which can easily reach -50*C/-58*F or colder. And after a few days of temps like that and being stuck indoors, one and their kids tends to get a stir crazy and *has* to get out. I'm sure you know how it is.

I feel like I need to put this kind of cold into perspective b/c in similar threads I've noticed a lot of the people who reply are in climates that experience WAY milder winter temps -- ie, your "cold" is what we go out in sweaters/fleeces and *maybe* a toque and mitts, if the wind's up. Even after letting the car warm up for 20+ minutes (we do not have a garage so our car is parked outside in these temps and I won't even start on how expensive and wasteful letting the car idle for that long is), at such extreme cold temps, the car interior is not warm at all and the car seats are, obviously, nowhere near warm. Also, in that kind of cold, it takes less than one minute for frostbite to set in. So we really are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do we bundle up our kids to lessen the frostbite risk and exposure to extreme cold and therefore increase the risk of ejection in a crash? Or do we under dress the kids, put them in very cold car seats to lessen the chance of ejection in a crash but at the same time, they're more exposed and vulnerable to the extreme cold, which can have serious consequences also.

So, for trips around town (where it usually takes 5 minutes or less to get to our destination), I have to choose the lesser of 2 evils. I keep the kids bundled up. : I can't risk exposing them to that cold. I get their straps as tight as I can (they have down filled coats so they do compress quite a bit) and, most importantly, I drive defensively to lessen my chances of being in a crash. I keep a fair distance between myself and the car in front of me. I drive for the conditions . . . if that means doing 25km/hr in a 50, so be it. I am aware of vehicles near me and I approach all intersections w/caution, even light controlled ones. I realize I'm taking a risk by having my kids still in their jackets and snowpants so I try to minimize that risk by driving defensively. But I still can't help but feel like a terrible mother for doing so b/c I know I'm going to hear it about how I'm totally endangering them by keeping them bundled up. Either way, I'm endangering them. It's a lose/lose situation for us.

For out of town trips and trips around town when it's not as cold (say -20*C/-4*F ), we put them in fleece-lined jackets, their toques and mitts and cover them w/their fleece tie blankets.
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#28 of 28 Old 11-06-2007, 08:53 PM
 
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Does anyone remember the space bag commercials from a few years ago? In a crash, your child's coat will act like a comforter in a space bag. It will compress down to nothing. The laws of physics don't change because it's cold. Your child needs to be warm, but being warm will not matter when they are ejected from your vehicle in a crash.

It is VITAL that you find another solution than leaving your children in their seats with their coats.
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