A baby in a car seat wrapped in warm jacket and beanie

Essential Tips For Keeping Baby Warm In Their Car Seat

With the cold weather, we need to think about how to keep the baby warm in the car seat without sacrificing safety issues.

Though we have no doubt all been guilt at some point of over-wrapping up our infants, as parent’s we should know that heavy clothing, including winter jackets and snowsuits, should not be worn underneath the harness of a car seat. 

Yes, it is cold outside, bitterly cold. Temperatures are as low as one digit, the wind is picking up, and you only want to keep your baby warm. You need to prevent those little hands and faces from freezing by keeping the baby warm in the car seat.

So without winter jackets and snowsuits, you are no doubt wondering how to keep your baby warm in a car seat?

We’re going to walk you through some tips that will help you strike that balance between keeping little ones warm and ensuring that they are safely buckled into their car seats.

First, let’s just quickly recap why keeping your baby’s core temperature ‘just right’ is so important:

Health Warnings

When traveling in the winter, we expect severe storms, light dustings, and cold temperatures; it is, therefore, wise to look for ways to ensure our little ones are not affected by the season.

When you are taking a vacation by road with your little one in winter, you will want to clothe your baby in the following:

  • Warm clothes if they have outdoor activities. By warm, several thin layers will help keep them dry and warm. And remember gloves or mittens, warm boots, and a hat to cover their ears.
  • If your babies are older, the rule of thumb is to clothe them in one more layer of clothing than you would wear in that same condition.
  • Clothe them in thin, snug layers rather than bulky snowsuits or coats.
  • Keep off blankets, pillows, quilts, bumpers, sheepskin, and other loose beddings away from your little one’s sleeping environment. Irrespective of how cold the weather is, loose bedding is associated with suffocation deaths. Try wearable blankets and one-piece sleepers instead.

Dangers Of Your Little One Being Too Cold

Due to your baby’s smaller size and having less mass than an adult, they are at a greater risk of developing hypothermia or frostbite. The signs to look out for are:


  • Your baby’s temperature will fall below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures. This often happens when your little one is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather and does not have the proper clothing or when their clothes become wet.
  • As hypothermia sets in, your baby will shiver and become lethargic and clumsy. Your little ones’ speech may become slurred, and their body temperatures will decline in severe cases.
  • You might need to call 911 if you suspect your baby is hypothermic. Meanwhile, before help arrives, take your little one indoors, and if they have any wet clothes, remove them and clothe them in warm clothes. You can also wrap them in warm blankets.


  • When you notice that your young one’s skin and outer tissues are frozen, they suffer from frostbite. Frostbite tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, ears, toes, and nose. These areas might become pale grey and blistered. Or your child might start complaining that they are burning on the skin or have become numb.
  • If you notice that your little one is suffering from frostbite, bring them indoors and place the frostbitten parts of their body in warm water, not hot water. The recommended ideal temperature is 104 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use washcloths on the frostbitten lips, noses, and ears.
  • Remember not to rub the frozen areas. 
  • After you have warmed up the frostbitten parts, dry and cover your little one with clothing or blankets. And give them something warm to drink. And if the numbness does not subside, call your doctor.

Some may think the solution is to rug them up as much as you can, however, here in lies the next health issue:

Overheating While Driving

When your baby is overheating, being comfortable is the last thing they will be. Overheating can still happen even during the cooler months if you are not careful. Your baby’s temperature should be between 98 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

FRT Tips For Keeping Baby Warm In Car Seat - Overheating While Driving

You don’t need a thermometer; You should feel the nape of their neck to ensure that your baby is not overheating. If their cheeks are flushed and the baby breathes rapidly, they might be overheating.

Ways how to prevent overheating while driving includes:

  • Dressing your little one in the same way you would dress in the temperatures of the room, at most adding one more layer
  • Do not bundle your baby with too many blankets, especially if the car’s heat is running. 
  • Do not bump the heat up any higher than 72 degrees F.
  • Avoid having your little one sleep too close to heating vents or portable heaters. Do not bundle your baby with too many blankets, especially if the car’s heat is running. Do not bump the heat up any higher than 72 degrees F. Avoid having your little one sleep too close to heating vents or portable heaters.

Tips To Keep Baby Warm In Their Car Seat

So now we know we need that ‘Goldilocks solution’ to regulate our babies temperature when we’re road tripping in the winter, here’s how to get your baby cozy and snug while you drive, without needing a big winter coat in their car seat.

1. Bring Your Baby’s Car Seat Carrier Inside

Your little one’s car seat can get cold in the middle of winter, so bring the carrier portion of the infant seat when it is not in use. Bringing the carrier portion of the seat in helps to keep it at room temperature and allows you to get your baby ready in the seat without them being cold, as it reduces the loss of the child’s body heat in the car.

2. Get An Early Start

If you plan to travel with your little one during the winter, starting your trip early will help. Remember that you have a lot to assemble, and babies are not the most cooperative during trips. Also, wintery conditions make you drive slowly as you are extra cautious.

If your not much of a morning person, see our tips here for how to stay awake while driving to make those early morning starts work

3. Dress Your Child In Thin Layers.

Thin layers are the best way to keep your baby warm than thick winter jackets. You can start with a snug-fitting layer on the bottom, then add pants and a thicker top like a sweater. If you live in super cold temperatures, long underwear are a safe option as a thin fleece jacket.

4. Warm The Car First

During the winter, you should warm up your car beforehand. Ensure the temperatures are comfortable for everyone before putting your little one inside.

5. Tighten The Straps Of The Car Seat Harness

If your little one is dressed in multiple layers, then it can be hard to tighten the harness. So, try to pinch the straps of the car seat harness. So that layers do not hinder you from tightening to fit snugly against your little one’s chest. By doing this, you are ensuring that car seat and coat safety is in check.

A cute baby girl wrapped up warm in her car seat

6. Use A Coat Or A Blanket Over The Straps

You can also add a blanket over the top of the harness straps or put your little one’s winter coat on backward after your little one is buckled up. Put your baby into the car seat correctly. Then put their arms through the coat with the backside on their stomach. This is the only safe way you can combine jackets and car seats.

7. Bring Hats, Mittens, Socks, And Booties

Hats, mittens, socks, and booties help keep your little one warm without interfering with the car seat straps. Humans lose body heat through the ears, so put your baby’s hat on too.

8. Pack An Emergency Bag For Your Car

As well as a usual first aid pack when traveling with kids, anywhere, in winter ensure extra blankets, hats, gloves, dry clothing, and some non-perishable snacks are kept in your car during a winter outing. This is handy in an “on the road” emergency or your little one gets wet.

9. Do Not Overheat

It is natural to worry whether your baby is warm enough. But you have to take care that you do not overclothe them. This might also cause your little one to be uncomfortable during your car ride. 

Ensuring that your little one is adequately layered up and the car’s internal temperature is reasonable makes it possible to keep your little one cozy and chilled during your trip.

10. Use A Car Seat Cover Only If It Has No Layer Below The Infant

You must ensure that nothing goes underneath and between your child’s body. Also, watch out for the harness straps. Ensure that your little one’s face is not covered to prevent trapped air and to rebreathe.

Remember that most manufacturers produce car seat bundling that is not secure to use in the car. Using an infant car seat warmer cover is an excellent way of keeping the baby warm in car seats.

JJ Cole Infant Car Seat Cover, Winter Resistant Stroller and Baby Carrier Cover, Black
Skip Hop Winter Car Seat Cover, Stroll & Go, Heather Grey

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) On Baby’s In Car Seats In The Winter

What coat can the baby wear in a car seat?

To ensure your baby stays safe and warm in a car seat, clothe them in warm but thin layers. Fleece sweaters, light-down jackets, or lightweight coats are all excellent choices for the car. Remember to choose layered outerwear in a size that fits your little one well to limit excess bulk that might add too much bulk.

Can I put a blanket on my baby in a car seat?

Once your little one has been safely buckled, you can lay a blanket over their lap or on them. Ensure it does not cover the face to align with the car seat blanket safety tips.

Why shouldn’t you put a coat on a baby in a car seat?

You should remove your baby’s thick coat when placing them in the car seat because it creates too big a gap between the safety harness and your child’s body, which means that in case of an accident, the harness will not be close enough to the child to restrain them properly.
To ensure that car seat safety with winter coats is observed, clothe your little one in layers.

We hope you’ve found this baby car seat guide helpful for traveling with your infant in winter. It may take some trial and error getting their temperature and comfort levels “just right” when it comes to the extremes of winter, but don’t let that put you off getting out and exploring some winter wonderlands this year!

More Infant & Baby Travel Tips

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