How to keep baby warm in car seat: Tips and Tricks

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With cold weather arriving it is crucial to know how to keep baby warm in car seat. There are a lot of things to take into account.

So it is not only about the safety of the child, it is also about comfort and convenience while keeping baby warm.

Apart from usual winter clothing, you can buy specifically designed to be used in car seats winter gear from the stores.

In this article, we will tell you how to keep baby warm in car seat and not compromise your child’s safety.

The Tips for keeping kids warm in car seats

With winter weather coming and the temperature dropping below freezing, you have to think about how to keep baby warm in car seat.

Certain gear is allowed to be used in the car seat and can keep the kid warm in the car. Let’s look into the options.

Read also how to keep baby cool in a car seat

Can baby wear a winter coat in car seat?

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Choosing to wear puffy winter coats in a safety seat can’t guarantee safety for your little one hence it mustn’t be used. Puffy clothing altogether is not allowed to be worn underneath the harness straps.

In the event of a car crash, the harness straps are going to be flattened due to the crash forces.

The danger of having too much space underneath the belts is that your baby won’t be firmly sitting in a car seat and can fall out of it.

The same applies to all air-filled suits and other bulky clothing. Even if you tighten the car seat’s harness, getting rid of all the air is impossible.

All the winter coats are different though. How can you check out whether your one will be okay to use or not?

Dress your baby in the puffy coat, buckle her in the car seat and adjust the harness straps as tight as you can. You shouldn’t be able to grab any webbing.

Now take the baby from the car seat, undress her by removing the child’s coat and a cap the baby back into the safety seat. Any excessive webbing that you can grab means that your baby’s coat is too puffy and cannot be used in the car seat to keep your child warm.

It is advisable to choose a thin fleece jacket for car rides that will not cause any issues with the safety seat and the way it performs, but will keep your child warm at the same time.

Can I use blankets in a car seat?

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It is quite useful to always have blanket in the car. If your child is cold, simply cover the car seat straps with a blanket when your child is buckled in the car seat and is ready to go. They are also quite compact and can fit in your emergency bag.

To warm your child faster you can try to cover him with a thin receiving blanket first, then put the other blanket on top of the first one.

The disadvantage of choosing blankets is that if your kid is quite active, he will just kick it off him.

Wearable blankets

The American Academy of Pediatrics approves of using wearable blankets and sleeping bags.

They are a great option for infants and toddlers as they can’t be kicked off. They stay firmly on the kid and leave the face of the child clear of clothes and open. Wearing such blankets won’t cause suffocation.

For winter time choose thicker blankets, so your child can stay warm in the car.

Car seat poncho idea

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Ponchos are the alternative to car blankets. They are usually made from fleece fabric that will keep your baby cozy and warm in the car.

Some models come with a hood. Place it on top of the baby once the car seat harness is buckled.

The advantages of using ponchos are not just feeling warm, it also doesn’t affect the car seat safety.

The car seat cover idea

Another way how to keep baby warm in car seat is by using a car seat cover that is made out of warm fabric.

For small babies when you are still using an infant car seat, we recommend buying the type of car seat cover, that has elastic sewn into the edges, so it stays on the car seat firmly sort of like a shower cap.

Note, the car seat accessories that haven’t been approved by your car seat manufacturer are not allowed to be used. In the event of a car crash, it can cause your baby to get injuries and might affect the performance of the car seat.

What clothes to choose for a baby to wear in a car seat?

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When deciding what to dress your baby in and how to keep baby warm in car seat, do not forget that the priority is how safe your child is going to be.

Regardless of what clothes you opt for, it shouldn’t affect car seat safety.

Use multiple layers

As we said above, avoid using winter coats as they are too bulky. Consider getting clothes with thin layers.

As a general rule, the first layer must be either a cotton onesie or long underwear along with something to cover the baby’s feet such as baby socks.

The second layer must be something warm such as a fleece romper or a fleece jersey. Such type of clothes is difficult to get rid of so you will not have to worry that your kid will pull them off.

Fleece is the best fabric to choose for keeping kids warm during winter. Apart from it being very warm, it is compact and also has water-repellent properties.

The down jackets

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If you are wondering, can babies wear coats with down or feather-filling material, the answer is no, they can’t. Avoid such clothing as it is unsuitable for a safety seat, leaving big gaps between the harness system and a child.

Rather choose thin fleece coats that can still keep your kid warm and will not interfere with the harness system.

Wearing a fleece coat instead of a winter coat

The fleece jackets are made from a soft water-resistant material that will keep your kids warm inside the car without restricting them from moving.

It is easily foldable and can fit in your emergency bag that you take for long car rides.

Another advantage of fleecy clothing is that it will not feel cold even after it has been outside for some time.

Wear coats backward idea

What if you want to take your kids to winter outdoor activities and they have to be dressed appropriately in a snowsuit or a thick warm jacket? How to keep baby warm in a car seat and not interfere with safety seat straps?

In the case of wearing a snowsuit, once you get to the car, pull the top part of the snowsuit down, so it still stays on the child’s legs, but the seat belts can be buckled properly.

You don’t have to deal with having to take kids’ shoes off either. The shoes stay on as well. If children get cold, they can wear coats backward. That way the snowsuit will be on top of the harness which is perfect and safe.

The same applies to puffy jackets. Long underwear will be ideal to wear in a safety seat allowing the kid to be buckled in properly. If he gets too cold, wearing a jacket backward like a blanket is an option.

Extra winter clothing accessories

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No matter how warm you think you have dressed your baby, the extras such as gloves, socks, hats, and footwear will assist in fighting the cold temperature.

Hats and hoods

Remember to cover the child’s head with a warm woolen hat or some fleece beanie. The options in the stores are vast, you will find something that suits your child.

When choosing the right hat take into consideration its style. It mustn’t be too big, otherwise, it can fall and cover your baby’s nose, causing trapped air and difficulty with breathing.

With infants, it is best to choose a woolen balaclava, so they can’t take it off and it sits firmly on the head leaving the baby’s face open.

The hoods are another alternative to hats. The convenience of the hoods is that it is not an extra piece of clothing. You won’t have to worry about remembering to take it with you.

If it gets hot in the car, your child can just take it off and it will not land on the floor. Easy to put it on, when the child feels cold again.

Mittens, socks, and boots

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Hands and feet are the first ones to get cold. Depending on your child’s age, choose mittens for small babies and gloves for older kids.

To keep a child’s body heat during the car ride, do not forget about socks. They can be just cotton ones or with warm fleece inlining.

For a baby in the infant car seat choose fleece or puffy boots. You put them onto the socks and clip them around the baby’s ankles.

Older kids are a bit more difficult when it comes to shoes. Usually, their shoes are quite filthy especially if the weather is nasty. Consider either taking their shoes off before letting the kids in the car or purchasing special car seat covers for the back of the driver and the passenger seats.

Baby wrap for the car seat

A baby wrap is a perfect idea instead of using a bulky coat. It is designed in a way that will fit both infant and convertible seats.

It has special cutouts for the car seat harness to go through. It will not affect the way you buckle the harness straps and there won’t be extra space between the baby’s shoulder and the belts.

The wrap itself has fluffy padding and your baby will stay warm during the car ride.

Baby Cocoon for the coldest days

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If you are looking into how to keep baby warm in car seat, instead of dressing your baby into multiple layers of clothing, consider getting a baby cocoon.

It is one of the warmest options on the market, that looks like a sleeping bag. The way it is designed will not affect the safety of your baby. You can forget about the uncomfortable winter coat that is difficult to put on.

The light thin clothing can be worn underneath as the cocoon protects your baby against cold weather conditions well.

Can a baby wear a snowsuit in a car seat?

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Even though snowsuits do a pretty good job of keeping your child’s body warm during cold weather, it is not safe to use in car seats.

Snowsuits are quite warm and puffy, which is great for any outdoor activity. If you decide to use it in a car seat, you have to remember that it can be dangerous.

When you buckle the harness of the child restraint and pull it to make it tight, there will be extra space left between the belts and the child. Studies show that if you can get in more than two fingers between your child and the harness, it is not safe.

In the event of an accident, it can cause your baby to be injured severely. The belts must be tightly strapped so that when you perform a pinch test you can’t grab any excessive bits.

Remember, two to four inches is too much and your child can get out of the car seat.

Bring the car seat inside

If your car seat comes with a base, it is easy to be detached. Bring the car seat home after a car ride.

Leaving it in the car when the temperature is freezing will cause the car seat to be quite cold too. Your baby will be cold and uncomfortable getting into such a seat.

If you are not going to use the car seat for a long time you should keep it at home. Long exposure to cold temperatures can cause the plastic elements of the car seat to become brittle.

Warm the car before the car ride

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Another way how to keep baby warm in car seat is to start your car 20 minutes before leaving. It will make the temperature inside the vehicle more comfortable.

Warming the car ahead of leaving will also help with your car functioning properly. You do not want to get stuck in the middle of the road during winter because something has broken.

Can I overheat the baby?

It is quite possible to cause your baby to be hot. If the car heating is full force and your baby is dressed warmly, there is a possibility of overheating.

You mustn’t jump into using every possible way to keep your child warm. If the heating in your car works fine, there is no need for all these extra accessories and warm clothes. Just thin layers of clothing should be sufficient.

If the car heating system doesn’t function properly, warm clothes or accessories are required to be used.


How do I know my baby is cold?

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A small baby won’t tell you if she is cold or hot. You have to check their temperature by touching their neck or nose. If your baby’s neck is too sweaty, the baby is too hot. You have to undress her by removing a layer of clothing.

If the child’s nose is cold, find some extra piece of clothing to chuck on top to warm him, or use a blanket.

Do car seat covers keep baby warm?

Winter seat covers are perfect for infants and keep them warm in freezing weather. There is a big variety of different ones. Make sure it is compatible with your car seat to ensure your baby’s safety.

When choosing a car seat cover, go for the one that just slips onto the car seat and not under the baby. It will sit more securely and be more difficult to kick off.

Can you put a blanket over a car seat?

It is a safe way of covering your child with a blanket in a car seat. The child must be securely buckled in a seat and then only you place a blanket on top of the child.

Never use blankets underneath the safety harness as it will interfere with the car seat performance during the car ride.

Can babies wear hoodies in carseats?

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If baby hoodies are made out of thin layers of fabric they are allowed to be worn in a safety seat. Anything thick like a winter coat with fluffy padding must be avoided because it doesn’t allow the harnessing system to be strapped tight around a child.


We hope this article was a great help to those who are thinking about how to keep baby warm in car seat. Consider all the options above and choose the one the suit best yourself and your baby. Do not forget it is all about the safety and comfort for your baby.

If you have any questions left, please let us know in the comments below.

Alice Brooks

Hi!!!My name is Alice Brooks. Here I share my observations and conclusions from my experience and the experience of my friends. First of all, I pay attention to safety and only then to trends. I want to help other parents to choose the right product.

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