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Winter car seat safety tips

Travel safe with baby this winter

Author Kat Gemmell
Categories   Car Safety

The Edit

The nights have drawn in and the temperatures have dropped, so if you’re travelling by car with baby this winter here’s our top tips to keep them safe.

Firstly, children should not wear winter coats in a car seat. A padded coat or snowsuit will prevent the harness being secured correctly to the child. For newborns, it may also lead an increased risk of overheating as they are unable to regulate their own body temperature.

To keep your little one warm in the car seat, the following tips may help.

Where possible, pre-heat your vehicle. Some modern cars have an app that allows you to pre-heat your car remotely. 

Dress your little one in thin layers, such as a vest, indoor clothes and cardigan. A hat and gloves can be used when it is very cold, but small babies will not be able to remove these themselves and could easily overheat.

Use a blanket to keep them warm until the car heats up – when it is very cold, the blanket could be placed over a radiator before travel. 

Remember, unless you are on a very short journey the car will heat up quickly. Babies cannot remove hats, gloves and blankets themselves and can overheat very quickly – be prepared to pull over and remove layers once the car has heated up on long journeys. Toddlers and children can remove items themselves.

The no coats rule also applies to older children in boosters. Seatbelts are designed to fit closely to the body, and thick padded jackets can cause the seatbelt to not sit correctly on the child.

In addition to keeping little ones warm safely, here are some tips for general winter car safety:

Check your tyres every two weeks to ensure the pressure is correct.

Ensure your windscreen wipers clear your screen effectively, that your antifreeze fluid and screen wash is at the correct level and all lights are working on your car.

Have a breakdown kit in your vehicle, containing items such as warm clothing, a torch, hi-vis jackets, emergency foil blankets and long life snacks. If your baby is formula fed, also keep some ready-made formula and sterile bottles in the kit. It is also worth taking a flask of hot drink on long journeys.

Keep de-icer and a scraper in the boot of your car so you can de-ice easily when you’re away from home. Remember to clear the whole windscreen when de-icing – it is illegal to drive with a covered windscreen.

Author Kat Gemmell

Kat Gemmell joined our car safety team with over a decade of experience supporting parents to choose, fit and use their child car seats safely. She has worked for a national child seat campaign, provided product training for child seat manufacturers, and ran online information websites to support parents in making a truly informed choice.

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