Working with Parents

My experiences of advising parents on child safety

Snowsuits, clothing, car seats and the danger…

on May 27, 2013

During the colder months I regularly see parents putting their babies in danger when travelling in the car – and they don’t even realise they are doing it.

As a result of trying to protect their baby, the parent is inadvertently putting their baby at risk of being ejected from the car seat, or at risk of dangerous over heating.

So what is this terrible mistake so many parents in the UK make? 

Answer: Big, puffy snowsuits and car seats.

In the simple act of a parent trying to protect their baby from getting cold, they are putting them at considerable risk.

So why is putting your baby in a snow suit when using the car seat so dangerous?

Snowsuits, as well as puffy or chunky clothing causes a car seat harness to fit a baby incorrectly.  Car seat harnesses need to be as close to a baby’s body as possible to be most effective in an accident.  If big, puffy clothing is between the baby and the harness it creates a gap.  When the harness then has to do its job and restrain a baby in the event of an impact, it is too loose – as all the air that is trapped in the puffiness disperses.  When the harness is too loose, the baby runs a significant risk of being ejected from the car seat.

Take a look at the 2 photographs below, the snowsuit isn’t particularly puffy, but it is thick.  When the baby is in the snowsuit she appears to be strapped in tightly.  I then unclipped the harness and removed the baby from the seat (without adjusting the harness)  upon strapping her back in you can clearly see the gap now created, and that she has also dropped down in the car seat.

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Not only is there a very real danger of a baby being ejected from the car seat, when a baby is in a puffy snow suit they are also unable to regulate their body temperature.  A car heats up very quickly, and whereas adults are able to adjust the car temperature to suit them or remove clothing, a baby is not as able to make herself comfortable.  There are also related health issues linked to babies being too warm.

So what can be done?

Clearly, nobody wants to put their baby in danger – but when it is cold outside babies still need to be kept warm, for the same reason snowsuits in the car seat are dangerous with overheating – they are unable to regulate their body temperature!

There are a few options a parent can take; you can dress your baby in a few layers (base layer, sleep suit + jumper and warm pants) or dress them in their regular clothes and cover them with a blanket.  You can use a cosy toes that comes with some car seats or buy a specially made after market cover to help them regulate their temperature and keep them warm.

There are a couple of covers available to help combat this issue, but the one I am going to focus on is the Ruby & GINGER cosy car seat cover.

Ruby & GINGER cosy car seat cover

I prefer the Ruby & GINGER cosy car seat cover over other options for a few reasons:

1)      Most importantly:  It doesn’t interfere with the harness – so baby can be safely strapped in, giving complete peace of mind to the parent

2)      The cover doesn’t interfere with the seat belt routing when fitting the seat

3)      It’s 3tog, so very effective at regulating temperature and keeping little one warm.

4)      It’s easy to lift it off – particularly useful in an emergency to quickly release a baby from the car seat.

I also love it because!…

5)      It’s quick and easy to pop on and I haven’t yet found an infant seat it won’t fit

6)      They are super stylish!

7)      They come in a handy bag, so you can store it between uses (great for the typical British weather!)

8)      They are incredibly luxurious and well made – the material is soft yet strong, and the attention to detail is fabulous.

The lovely people at Ruby & GINGER kindly sent me one of their covers to help me in this blog, and I was very impressed!

It came beautifully packaged:

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It comes with a handy carry bag:

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It fits loads of car seats!

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As you can see from the photos, the cover simply fits over the seat itself, and as it is 3tog, it very effectively keeps the baby warm, whilst allowing the air to circulate.

It doesn’t interfere at all with the harness and is quick and easy to remove – in case the baby needed to be quickly released from the seat. (After an accident, for example)  It also doesn’t interfere at all with the seat belt routing when fitting the seat and allows the baby to retain free movement to kick and explore their world.

It also fits all ages of babies, I have tested it on a 5 week old and a 15 month old, and both were warm, comfortable and very, very cosy!

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Both babies were very happy with the cover in place and it also looks incredibly stylish to boot!

Not only does it provide a safe solution to snow suits, it can also be used with the pram when being used as a travel system to keep little one warm!  Perfect for parents who pop in and out of the car with baby frequently – on the school run for example!

At an rrp of £30 they really are a must have buy to ensure your baby is travelling safely and snugly!

Ruby & GINGER have a range of accessories designed to assist parents everywhere – as well as the cosy car seat cover I love the Nappy Purse!  Check them out at http://www.rubyandginger.co.uk

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