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December 07, 2007

Car seat problems: No jacket required


Here's a something a little bit different today - we wanted to tell you about some trouble we've been having with the car seat that our 2-year-old uses. Or should we say, "used to use", until cold weather and snow arrived.

Some background: The seat is a Safety 1st Intera Convertible Car Seat, purchased in July 2006. The seat is supposed to fit kids up to 18kg and 102cm. Our daughter is nowhere near that - she's only 12.5kg and 85cm tall. But with her winter jacket, we can't do up the buckles on the seat. (And even without a jacket, the straps are so tight that it hurts.)

We sent an email to Safety 1st about the problem, and they replied:
"The harnesses on the car seat are not designed for use with a winter jacket. When the seat is tested to meet specifications mandated by your government the harnesses have to fit snugly against the body of your child. You should be able to place two fingers between the straps and your child. The bulkiness of a winter jacket can hinder that."
Seriously? The car seat was not designed with winter jackets in mind? And it is being sold in Canada??

Next, we called their customer service number, and spoke with a representative. She confirmed the info in the original email - that they recommend only a "light fleece" be worn by kids in the seat.

But what about here in Ottawa, we asked, with snow and wind and bitter cold for 5 months a year?

Amazingly, the customer service rep recommended we take the jacket off while our daughter is in her seat! (She might be buckled in safely, but she would freeze to death!)

After that conversation, we put in a call to Sears Canada where we bought the seat, to find out why they sell a car seat that kids won't fit into with winter jackets on. We'll keep you posted!

Related: Ottawa Kids Guide

4 comments:

  1. DaniGirl9:47 AM

    I'll be watching to see what you find out, but I was told pretty much the same thing when my first was around that age. It's crazy, isn't it? We just muddled through by stretching the straps as far as they would go. The real pain is during the transitional weather, when you go from bulky snow suit to rain jackets and back again and have to adjust the straps every time.

    DaniGirl

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  2. As far as I know there are no car seats designed to be used with a winter coat. There is too much give in the bulkiness and so it makes the straps unsafe. Let us know if you find one though!

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  3. Anonymous10:33 AM

    It is not safe to use ANY car seat with a winter coat (a puffy coat, I mean) because the straps are not going to be tight enough, and will not keep them from moving around in case of a crash.

    Do not stretch the straps as far as they can go...it is not safe. PLease read the manual...

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  4. Here's an update on the story:
    http://ottawastart.blogspot.com/2007/12/winter-jackets-and-car-seats-dont-mix.html

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