Winter is coming.
Truth bomb: I haven’t watched enough Game of Thrones to understand what that quote even means, but I know all the cool kids are saying it.
In my piece of Canada, winter is cold, dark, and long. Mostly cold. And unfortunately, we have to leave our house on an almost-daily basis. Which means, my kids have to go into their car seats. In the summer, that’s no big deal. Snap and go. But in the winter, keeping them warm AND safe is kind of a pain in the booty.
In the winter, you’ve got a few options for car seats, and some of them are obviously better than others. But, why?
Option 1: Nah, bro. It’s cool.
What’s the harm in a puffy coat? Your kid is warm, they’re ready for recess, and the straps are tight. Right? Wrong. Take the coat away, and you can see exactly how much space is between the straps and the kid. In an accident, that coat is going to compress. That body is going to move. That car seat is now ineffective. Please, let’s agree to not do this. Let’s not even call it an option.
Option 2: Thin Jacket.
Thin jackets are perfect for car seats, because they don’t interfere with the car seat straps. They aren’t bulky. They don’t slip and slide around. They’re safe. But they’re not exactly -30C warm. So, you can easily toss a blanket or a poncho over them, and call it good, but then you’re also remembering to bring a warm jacket with you for when you’re out of the car. This option is budget-friendly, safe, but mildly inconvenient.
The Down Road Coat is their warmest version. It is filled with Down and feathers, and rated up to -30C, which is an unfortunately realistic temperature for most of our winters. I wanted something my son could wear to school, and at school, without having to worry about him losing one jacket along the way. The Road Coat also has a weather-resistant polyester shell that is also fantastic for wiping off spills. Bonus. This Coat is also machine-washable (on cold), and can be Tumble dried on low.
The Road Coat is designed with car seat safety in mind. It is a double-layered jacket, where the car seat buckles are done up between the layers, over top of a thin layer, and under the thick layer, meaning the majority of the fabric of the Coat is outside the straps, and not interfering with proper buckling. The back of the Coat is puffy, but compressible. The entire jacket actually compresses enough to fit inside a convenient carrying case!
This Coat is super easy to properly use. My son zips the inner and outer layers up before leaving the house, climbs into his car seat, and unzips the outer layer. At each shoulder, there are Velcro straps that undo, letting the shoulder harness sit on even fewer layers of fabric.
The straps go in between the two layers of the jacket, fitting perfectly around the bottom layer at the hips. The chest portion of the inner layer is covered in slip-resistant dots, further helping the straps stay in place. One of my favourite features of this Coat is the chest-clip marker. A simple red line on the inner layer shows exactly where the chest clip belongs. I’ve had enough anxiety seeing pictures of kids buckled on social media to wish this was a feature on ALL coats.
After normally buckling the car seat, the outer layer of the coat can either be left open, or zipped up over top of the straps. This is fantastic for kids who are buckle shifters or undoers, as the zipper is definitely loud enough to be heard if curious hands get moving. My son prefers to have the outer layer zipped up, for extra warmth, and so he can check out the amazing puppy print on his coat.
The Road Coat is available through their website, and I think it is very reasonably priced, considering it is good for in the car, and out of the car, even on the coldest of days.