How to Dress Baby for a Safe Winter Drive

Released: 2/15/2017




What’s the best way to dress your child for a wintertime drive?  It’s a challenge—especially when the outing involves placing kids in their car seats.  The American Academy of Pediatrics offers advice:


--The general rule is that infants should wear one more layer than adults. If you have a hat and coat on, your baby should have a hat, coat and blanket. Just be sure to add the blanket over the top of the harness straps, not under.


--Dr. Wendy Proskin, WESTMED pediatrician, advises you to dress your child in thin layers. Start with close-fitting layers, such as long underwear, tights, leggings and long-sleeved bodysuits. Then add pants and a warm top, such as a sweater or thermal-knit shirt. Then add a thin fleece jacket as the outerwear.


--Do not dress your child in bulky clothing that will be underneath the harness of a car seat.  The force of a crash would flatten out the fluffy padding in winter coats or other such clothing, leaving extra space under the harness and putting the child at risk of slipping through the straps and being thrown from the seat.


--Be sure to tighten the straps of the car seat harness, which can be difficult to do if your child is wearing multiple layers of clothing. If you can pinch the straps of the car seat harness, you need to continue tightening them until they fit snugly against your child's chest, the academy advises.


--Leave the baby's face uncovered to avoid trapped air and re-breathing.


Other Things to Remember:


--If you use a car seat cover, make sure it doesn't have a layer under the baby. Many stores sell car seat bundling products, but these aren't safe to use in a car seat, the academy says. And never use sleeping bag inserts or other stroller accessories in a car seat.


--Keep the carrier part of the car seat inside the house when not in use, the AAP suggests. This will keep the seat at room temperature, reducing the loss of your child's body heat in the car.


Finally, it's a good idea to always pack a car emergency “go bag." Pack it with extra blankets, dry clothes, hats and gloves, and non-perishable snacks in case of an on-road emergency or if your child gets wet on a winter outing.