Do You Bundle Your Baby in a Snowsuit or Jacket in the Winter??

Updated on January 07, 2011
T.W. asks from Milwaukee, WI
30 answers

Ladies, I am torn between what I have done in the past with my own little girl and now what a friend says is the correct way of doing it. For my daughter when she was an infant I have always bundled her up in a snowsuit so she stays warm when we go outside. The snowsuit that I had for her had an opening between the legs for the childseat buckle to go and I would tighten the belt so she was snug in it. Well this weekend when I went to pick up a friend and her little 7 month old she had him in a jacket (not a winter coat but not a super thin one neither). Anyways when I mentioned that he will be cold since its snowing outside she said that a friend of hers had mentioned how snowsuits are bad for carseats and that they can compress and be hurtful for the infant if in a crash and said this was the correct way to do it. I was shocked since I have never heard this before and now I worry about the little munchkin and hope he doesnt get a cold because of him not being warm enough... well warm enough for me. Ladies, my question is what is your opinion - Do you bundle your munchkin in a snowsuit or a jacket during the winter?

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answers from New York on

Jacket if we were just going to-and-from the car to an indoor location. He had a "snowsack" for outside, but he only used it at daycare. They would put him in the little insulated sack in the stroller wrapped in a blanket if the kids went outside.

Kids can overheat pretty quickly, so being totally bundled in a warm car sounds like it may be pretty uncomfortable.

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answers from Wausau on

the safest thing to do is dress them warmly but NOT in thick jackets or snow suits and then have a cover for the car seat. that way they are covered and protected from snow but still safe.
you were told correctly that having a fluffy snowsuit or jacket isn't safe - too much extra padding between them and the car seat straps. in case of an accident, there would be extra room for the baby to then move around - not good!


answers from Lincoln on

My 16 month old daughter is in her carseat without her coat but with 2 good size blankets over her, a hat on her head, and mittens on her hands! We have the coat with us so if we run into a store or to go into daycare I put that on her. She is still in her infant carrier so it's nice to not have her coat because if she falls asleep I can pull the blanket off when we run into a store or get home and not wake her!
My sister has a snuggie for her 3 year in the car - she gets in the car, coat goes off, she gets buckled, and snuggie goes on! That way she stays covered, warm, and safe. No if's ands or buts!
The recommendation is to not where it in the carseat because you can't get a correct fit. I work at a daycare in a Rehabilitation hospital and many of the moms fit carseats and then also are therapist to the kids in accidents. I follow what they tell me because I know they know the laws and what's best in an accident!

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answers from Cleveland on

A snowsuit is for being outside for long periods of time (like playing in the snow). Your friend is correct when she says it should not be worn in the car. If you want to see this for yourself put your daughter in her snowsuit and then strap her into her seat. Then take her out of her seat and the, without readjusting the straps, put her back in without the snowsuit and see how loose the straps are. Now imagine what would happen in a car crash when the stuffing compresses and your little one is thrown all about and possibly out of the carseat all together. It is really easy to keep a child warm in the car. Simply cover them with a blanket once they are strapped in. You can use the same blanket to wrap the child as you go in and out of the car though it is not necessary. The child will not get sick from being a little cold for a min or two as you walk from car to home or store or what ever. One more thing to think about is how warm your child is getting while in the car. I'm assuming you are normally running the heat in the car. Which means that your child is being strapped into a car seat, in a very warm car while wearing a heavy snow suit. She is probably getting very, very warm. Have you ever taken her out of the car and noticed that she is wet with sweat? Being cold and wet is far, far more dangerous for your child than being cold and dry. It's easier to add layers to your child in the car than it is to remove them once she is strapped in to her seat.

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answers from Minneapolis on

At the very least, dress your baby in decently warm clothes and hat and then put one or two fleece blankets over her. But always have back-up gear just in case.

I wear nice clothes to work, but I always wear warm boots a couple layers of coats, and hat. I keep all my dress shoes (both of them :) at work under my desk.

Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but I came of age before cell-phones, 911, or highway helpers. If you break down on the road in the winter, you need to have warm clothes and boots on hand for everyone in the car. (Remember making those coffee can winter survival kits in Girl Scouts anyone?)

The following is not a comment about you, but a reflection of society: It's still winter in Minnesota. I see too many people outside wearing only a thin jacket and dress boots with heels, and then they have the gall to complain about the cold. Well, duh!

Also, I've noticed that now that everyone seems to have cell phones, no one stops to help a disabled vehicle any more. This is troubling, apathetic behavior. Especially since cell phones don't always work, and there are still a few of use who don't use them.

P.S. When your baby gets older, dress her in snowsuits. They're AWESOME! I get new snowsuits every year from Goodwill for under $10 apiece.

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answers from Cedar Rapids on


I can't tell you how many times I've had this same conversation with my mother and I have a DEFINITE opinion for you! :-)

The short version - Please allow your friend to make her own decisions regarding her son. Mothering is hard, as I'm sure you know, and she doesn't need you second-guessing her. You do NOT get a cold from BEING cold, you get a cold from being exposed to a virus, which can happen anywhere regardless of whether or not you're wearing a snowsuit. That would be why people get "colds" in the summer!

Here is why I feel this way:

My daughter is 15-months-old, but tiny so she is still in an infant carrier. The first really cold day, I happily got out her pretty, puffy pink winter coat, bundled her up, and put her in her car seat. The problem? I couldn't tighten the straps. At all. I was torn between the pretty winter coat and my daughter's safety for about 2 seconds, then took the coat off, put her light-weight sweatshirt on, fastened her securely into her seat and put a comfy blanket over her! I pre-heated my car and she was FINE. When we got to the store, I kept her in her carrier under her pre-heated toasty blanket for the 15 seconds it took me to walk her from the car to the store. She was FINE.

This entire time, however, every time my mom saw her she made "helpful" comments and remarks such as, "Oh, poor girl! Grammy will buy you a winter coat! Mommy just doesn't realize how COLD it is out there for a little one..." These offended and upset me to no end. It eroded my confidence in my decision and made me feel like I had to "hide" my daughter from my mother. Finally, a few weeks later, we were going to my parents' church and I gave in and put her in the stupid coat so I wouldn't have to hear the comments from my mom. As we were driving home, we were rear-ended in a car accident. I cannot possibly tell you how guilty I felt that I had selfishly given in to avoid my mom's pointed comments and THAT was the day that my little girl was in an accident in a coat that offered almost no protection from her (and her brain, internal organs, etc.) jiggling around in the event of an accident.

Also, because of the accident she was in the coat in the seat for quite some time while we exchanged insurance/contact info, etc., with the other driver. When we got home and took her out of the seat and coat, she was SOAKED with sweat. I took her temperature and it was 102.4 and she had a glassy-eyed look. Once she was out of the coat the temp went right back down to normal and she just couldn't drink enough water. My poor baby was overheated, dehydrated, and had just been less-than-protected from a collision because I couldn't stand up to my mom.

I hope you're able to put your worries to rest and trust that your friend is doing what she feels is best for her child. It is not harming him, so kindly allow your trust in her to override your need to comment!

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answers from Duluth on

yes and no.

if we were just going outside, yes, bundle the babe.

but shes right; in a car seat of any kind, NO CHILD, infant or older, should wear a jacket or snowsuit in a car seat. kids have literally been ejected from their car seats and snowsuits because of the amount of space that they create between baby and belts in a crash. it is IMPORTANT that no child ever be in a snowsuit or jacket while buckled up. in fact, its not a good idea for you either.

there are several ways to get around this: us we just put our baby in the car seat, covered him with blankets, and used one of those car seat covers. they are the only thing that are recommended for use with a car seat because they are warming, and dont impact the safety of the seat. our son was never cold.
other things you can do is to buckle the child and then put the jacket on backwards. this works for older kids.

anyway. hope it helps.



answers from Minneapolis on

I put my youngest in one of those fleece suits (Columbia makes nice ones) - hood, full legs and arms, with fold over flaps to cover hands and feet. Once he could walk, I left the feet open and put him in boots. It's enough to keep them warm (and keep their legs warm, when their pants legs ride up in that cold, cold car!) but does not create a safety hazard. The issue is with down-filled or other similarly lofty winter wear. Also always make sure you readjust car seat buckles to fit whatever they are wearing snugly.



answers from Denver on

I love the bundle me too. We never bundled too much... I just layer that way we can remove layers as needed. We had long car rides to daycare/work and keeping the babies in a snowsuit in a car would be too warm. I never heard of the safety issue however.



answers from Boston on

Your friend is right. That is why most people get the things that zip up over the car seat. My boys take their coats off as soon as they get in the car. Don't worry about her baby getting a cold from the cold you get colds from germs not weather.


answers from Chicago on

In the carseat, we have a down bag zippy thingy (great description, right?) that we use. So I never put my 5mo in more than her regular clothes.
It's like a little sleeping bag specially fitted for a carseat (you can find them anywhere). It's REALLY warm. So if we're out in the cold, I zip it around her after I buckle her in.
Once we get inside, I unzip it so she doesn't roast if she's staying in the carseat.
We have the same thing for our stroller. (Both of our bags are from Maxi Cosi, but you can buy garden variety kinds at Target, Babies R Us, etc...).



answers from Dallas on

My son is MUCH warmer than I am - he's like his dad. If I bundle him up to the point where I feel he's warm like I am, he's TOO warm and uncomfortable. Since your infant isn't PLAYING in the snow, the snowsuit may be too much. If you're just going from house to car to wherever, then a thin but warm jacket/coat would be great. Take a warm blanket and put that on her on top of her when she's in the carseat so she's toasty. Best of both worlds.



answers from Omaha on

What kind of carseat do you use? If it is a carrier type they have the cozy covers. I used those with all my babies. Inside those they only need a smaller blanket. Those keep them so warm. I've seen covers that can go in regukar carseats, but I've never used those. All my kids were little and still in the carrier for winter. By the time they were in the regular carseat and it was cold they were in regular winter coats with hats and gloves. I do agree with the person that said make sure you keep a warm blanket in the car. You could also warm up the car before the kid(s) gets in.



answers from Davenport on

When my daughter was born December 8, 2006, we tried putting her in those sack-snowsuits, but she was a hot-blooded little thing and HATED being too she would cry the whole time, so while she was stil in the bucket carry-type carseat, we switched to putting her in a warm outfit ( fleece or sweatsuit material) with a onesie underneath, and then buckling her in, she has a pad/snuggler that went beind her and kept her head in place, then putting a blanket over her, and on really cold days, we had an elastic cover that popped over the whole carseat and zipped up to cover her and all that was in there with her. After she was bigger, we'd put her in a thinner winter coat, in the seat and bring a bigger one for if we were going to be outside for any length of time, and have one of her little fleece baby blankets in the car for her legs.

My son was born in Feb. 2009 and we used this method for him too, esp. after hearing the thing about the thick winter coats/snowsuits impeeding the carseat buckles from holding them in right. I think her little guy will be fine, if she is using a carry type car-seat, maybe you could give her one of these as a gift, to help keep him warm ( this is like what we had, excellent warmth, and keeps wind off, and keeps blankets or binkies/toys, whatever inside, not blowing off in the wind) Only $20:

Now we do have snowsuits/snowpants and coats for being pushed ina stroller, pulled on a sled, or playing in the snow once they are big enough, but it i ssafer in the car to heave them dressed in lighter/thinner layers, fleece is great, but big puffy over-clothes do mess with the way seatbelts are supposed to work.



answers from Detroit on

I have an 8 week old, live in Mighigan, and don't even own a winter coat for him! lol! My daughter was also a winter infant too. I use the JJ cole bundle me seat covers (the heavy weighted one in the winter and the lighter "jacket" one in the spring. There is no need for a coat with these car seat "coats". Just a hat, and maybe a light blanket tucked inside (especially on really cold days). Here is a website, but they also sell these at Target and BabiesRus. LOVE them. So much easier, and my kids both seemed very comfy and cozy!



answers from Minneapolis on

You are not suppose to have anything in a carseat wraped around a baby that did not come standard with the seat this includes the little baby head rests that you can purchase for around the head that being said, the baby fleece jackets that can strap into the seat are very unsafe, just like as a toddler you are not suppose to have them in heavy down jackets either as they compress in an accident so the shoulder belt straps are usually not on tight enough.

That being said my children do not get bundled up in the car seat, my 8 month old is in her standard sweat suit (the usual in winter) and then is wraped in blankets when taken in and out of the van. she also wears a hat. Now if she is not in the car seat she is bundled up in a snowsuits. Car seat is a no. Everyone has their way but if you go to a car seat installation and use class you would learn that you are not to add anything into the seat for safety reasons.



answers from Des Moines on

I most often put my 9 month old in a jacket and hat. It's actually not a full winter coat, just the lining from a 3-in-1 type coat that I got from a friend. It's just the right thickness to keep her warm but not be bulky under the carseat straps. Yesterday she was napping when it was time to pick up my son from school and so I put her right in the carseat without a coat (our garage is attached) and put a blanket on her. I didn't have to adjust the straps at all, so I know that coat is perfect. We also have a fleece snowsuit that she wears sometimes, but I don't feel it's necessary most of the time.


answers from Minneapolis on

Your friend is right, nothing bulky in the car seat. Not even Bundle Me's are approved for car seat usage becaues they are too bulky, but people use them anyway. Those ones that go on like a shower cap, elastic that go over hte top of the seat, are PERFECT!

We live in Minnesota, I have three kids ages 8, 5, and 3. My 8yr old is in a booster, my 5yr old in a harness, and my 3yr old rear facing. All three take their coats off in the car seats, so do I! Jackets compress and in a crash that compression makes a life or death difference in the harness slack.

Fleece is just as warm as a puffy jacket and its safe for the car seat. My kids all have light fleece jackets they wear under their winter coats and only in the car seats. ANd blankets. plus, who is really going to freeze to death in a running heated car? And colds are caught from germs, not cold air.



answers from Madison on

I took a car seat safety class. One thing they did mention was no bulky layers on the baby (between the baby and the straps) as it did hurt how the carseat would work in a crash. In Wisconsin, a just used a fall like coat for going in and out. I had a thicker coat and snowsuit for longer times outside but put them on at the destination. A pain, but safer based on the class.



answers from New York on

We only do a snowsuit if we are actually outside playing in the snow. Otherwise we do a coat, and I take it off when I put them in the car seat, then put it back on when we get out. It is a total pain in the butt, but I do it for a few reasons.

1) The car seat safety issue - bulky suits/coats aren't safe
2) When I keep them in their coats, by the time we get where we need to go they are sweating.



answers from Milwaukee on

If you talk to a nurse or someone like that they will say not to bundle a child in a car seat. It is for safety reasons. The car seats do not work effectively with all that extra material or thickness from the jackets. To keep the child warm to and from the car they recommend throwing blankets over the child or putting one of the carseat cozy things over the car seat to keep the baby warm. This works fine if you warm your can up.



answers from Rochester on

Your friend is right. You are not suppose to put your child in a puffy snow suit. During a car accident the snowsuit can compress allowing enough room for your child to slip through the straps of your car seat and become projectile. They discussed it in our birth class recently. There was a video with a police officer talking about going to accidents where the baby was thrown from the car but the car seat with the snow suit still in it was back in the car. SCARY! It was a refresher birth class and the snowsuit thing was one of the things they wanted us to know has changed since our last child was born. You are now suppose to dress your children (not just babies) who ride in car seats in a thin jacket made of warm material such as fleece with hats and mittens. Then when they are properly strapped in you can put a warm blanket over them, one of those car seat covers that have the little whole for their heads or even put the jacket on them backwards. I luckily found a very thing one peice snowsuit at Carters. It works perfectly because it does not require me to loosen the shoulder straps (a big no no) and is very warm. I threw a blanket over him last night because it was below zero and that was way to much. He was on FIRE when I got him home and undressed. So NO SNOWSUITS! There are plenty of great and extremely warm safer options.



answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter is 2 and does not get bundled up. The car is warmed up and she has a jacket and hat on until she gets into the car, then the jacket and hat come off. I've done this ever since she was an infant, but then she used to keep a blanket on her, now she just throws it off.
If she was staying outside, I would bundle her up.



answers from Minneapolis on

JJ Cole Bundle M. .. love it! I worry like you do and have my 8 month old wear a sweater underneath the bundle M. ...I think he needs it when he is out but in the car or in the mall/restaurants etc where we usually go to since it's SO cold outside, he starts sweating. Bundle M. is definitely very warm, but I feel cold in this weather wearing a sweater and a coat , so I am sure he feels cold too with just the bundle M.. I now just use a blanket to cover him up along with bundle M. when he is out in the cold.I remove it as soon we are inside the car or anywhere with heating.



answers from Dayton on

Well my kids are 3 and 5 now but they were both born in the first week of December. Both my kids had snowsuits that they wore when we went out. I would tighten the car seat strap but not so it was extremelly tight but enough that they would fly out of it or anything. I've never heard that before? I do see a lot of ppl that just put jackets on their kids in the winter. My mom and my grandma always to dress my kids how I was dressed. If I was in a long sleeve shirt and jeans then they needed to be in long pants and shirts. You might call your doctor and ask them or if you cant speak to your doctor see if you can speak to one of the nurses and ask them.



answers from Minneapolis on

No we don't. It has nothing to do with compression. It has everything to do with convenience. Our two oldest are boys, and they are "all boy", so trying to get everyone out of the house can be quite a task. With our youngest, who is 3 months old, she wears her regular clothes, a winter hat, and then we put a swaddling blanket tight over her to keep her arms in and feet covered, then a heavier blanket also tight over her. We also use that blanket to cover her face if we go outside (she is really sensitive to breathing cold air, and we live in MN!).

I found with my oldest two that if we used the snowsuits, they were cold. When we stopped using the snowsuits and bundled them in blankets instead, they were calmer and they stayed warm.



answers from Chattanooga on

We do a snowsuit when we are playing outside or walking.. but in the car it's a jacket and blanket. Your friend is right. It's one of those things that isn't really a 'common sense' issue (after all, WE wear bulky things in the car...). We were told when we had our seat inspected about it. The harness is supposed to fit SNUGLY so they don't move in a wreck. IF they are wearing a bulky snowsuit, then in a wreck what feels snug to us will compress and allow baby to move. Another rarely-observed rule for infant travel safety~ DON'T use mirrors and toys in the car for the baby... usually they are attached with bungees, Velcro, or snaps. NONE of which are strong enough to withstand the force of a collision... so if you do wreck they all become projectiles aimed for your baby's face. Not good. I was actually in a collision with a car that had a 3 week old baby... she ran a R. light and we T-boned her. Her poor baby had cuts all over his face where pieces of toys attached to the seat, and even some shrapnel from the door handle, had hit him. Poor little guy. :(



answers from Fort Wayne on

Kids don't get sick because they're cold. We get sick in the winter because we're trapped inside with all of our germs. We don't open the windows to air out the house. The warm environment in the house is a breeding ground for germs. So, not putting him in a snowsuit isn't going to make him sick.

I don't put snowsuits on my kids unless we're going to go outside and play. Little ones can get really overheated in the car when they're all bundled up. Not to mention, it's just uncomfortable. They're strapped tight in the carseat and then have that bulky hot snowsuit on. Not to mention, you really can't get the carseat straps on properly when they're wearing a big thick snowsuit.
I hate wearing a coat in the car, so I can imagine my kids do too. Snowsuits are designed to keep your child warm in the snow, not in a heated car. I would imagine that you turn the heat on in the car, so a full snowsuit isn't necessary. Both of my girls wear warm coats or layers in the winter. If we're going to be in the car for longer than 20 minutes, I take their coats off.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Your friend is right. Bulky coats, etc. do not allow for proper use of car seat restraints. Read this:

It's also a fact that something close to 90% of car seats are intalled improperly or used improperly. All of those incorrect users *think* their child is safe.

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