The temperatures have officially dropped below freezing. I’ve pulled out the hats. I’ve matched up all of the gloves, and my kids have retired their warm weather wardrobes.
But despite the cold temperatures, if you see me running into a store you probably won’t see my toddler wearing his coat.
I’ve gotten my fair share of judging looks when people see my little guy bundled up with a warm blanket draped over his shoulders but missing the “essential” warm winter jacket. I’ve witnessed many strangers grasping their pearls as they silently critique my parenting and pity my poor “cold” toddler.
I know I’m not the only mother to experience the downpour of judgement on this topic. Last winter, my sister-in-law dropped her baby off at daycare in his infant car seat carrier. She had him dressed warmly with a hat on his head and had him covered in a blanket. When she picked him up to take him to a doctor’s appointment that afternoon, the daycare lady disapprovingly said, “No wonder he’s sick. He didn’t have his coat on this morning.”
So what’s the real reason behind this no coat trend that so many moms of littles are participating in?
That’s easy. The real reason my toddler (and so many other toddlers) won’t be seen wearing a coat this winter is simple: Car Seat Safety.
According to Consumer Report, wearing a puffy winter coat in a car seat makes the shoulder straps too loose, which can be detrimental in a crash. So, as a general rule of thumb, winter coats should never be worn in a car seat.
And car seat safety is not something I mess around with, folks.
Because wearing a coat while in a car seat is a no go, I tend to forgo jackets altogether when we’re just quickly running in somewhere. Something I’ve learned in my short time as a parent is that wrangling an unwilling toddler into a coat takes roughly an eternity. By the time I’ve wrestled my rambunctious little one into his coat and buttoned him up, we are all freezing and could have already made the short trek into the warm store. So now I simply dress my toddler in warm clothes and bring a heavy blanket to wrap around him as we walk inside, and I almost always have warm winter jackets stashed in the trunk of my SUV in case we are outside somewhere for longer than anticipated.
So if you happen to see a mama out and about this winter with a coatless toddler, she’s not an unfit mother. I promise it’s not because she doesn’t notice the weather, and I guarantee that she doesn’t want her baby to be cold.
We are simply cautious mamas looking out for our children’s safety.