January 15, 2019
Getting your little one out of the house and safely into their car seat is no small feat in general, but add cold winter weather to the mix, and it can be downright stressful. After all, there's often quite a bit of dressing and undressing that needs to occur in order for a child to not only brave the chilly temps but be secured properly into their car seat. Every winter, experts remind parents to take their child's winter coat off before buckling them into their car seat. The reason, according to Safe Kids Worldwide: "Wearing coats, heavy sweaters or fleeces, for that matter, can prevent a snug and very important fit of the harness, which has to be tight at the shoulders and hips every time. You might think your child is securely snug in the car seat when in fact the harness is not tight enough because there is so much air in the coat or clothing."
Although safety comes first, parents want their L.O.s to be comfortable and warm, too. That's why a mom from New Hampshire named Dahlia Rezik created Buckle Me Baby Coats, which were designed to be safe to wear in a car seat.
In order to avoid the bulk that may heighten the risk of injury, the front panel pulls to the side and the shoulder seams are set in the back of the jacket. That way, the car seat straps are under the coat and rest on the child’s chest where they belong.
Anticipating that the concept may raise eyebrows, Rezik consulted with Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs), first responders, and EMTs to ensure the line's safety and also had the coats crash tested several times and passed the FMVSS 213 standard. In addition, the design passed the Consumer Product Safety Commissions' testing and were deemed CPSIA compliant.
Among the experts Rezik worked with was James DeCarli, Ph.D., CPST, injury/neuroepidemiologist and CEO, Pro Consumer Safety/Public Health Behavior Solutions. "Based on what I observed in the crash test, [the Buckle Me Baby Coats] seem to be safe," DeCarli tells Parents.com. "The only layer of material between the child and the car seat is on the child's back which is very thin, and the thick part of the coat props over the harness straps after the child has been harnessed in, so there is zero effect on the arms and the chest."
Upon reaching out to the American Academy of Pediatrics for comment on Buckle Me Baby Coats, Parents.com was told that the AAP does not endorse products and does not work with companies on testing their products.
Rezik explains to Parents.com how she set the bar when crash testing the coats: "Ultimately, our goal was not only to outperform traditional puffy coats but to perform as close as possibly to no coat at all—the gold standard in restraint safety—which Buckle Me Baby Coats has met. The difference between no coat and Buckle Me Baby Coats was found to be statistically insignificant during crash testing, but a cool test can be done
right at home too. Parents can set the harness correctly with no coat on then use the coat without any re-adjustments. This is impossible with a traditional winter coats and one of my favorite features."
The coats are available on BuckleMeCoats.com and retail for $69.99-$149.99.