How to Dress Baby for Car Seat in Winter: Keep Them Warm and Safe

Car seat safety is super important, especially when the temperatures drop. This means knowing how to dress baby for a car seat in winter! So what should baby wear in car seat in winter?

Most importantly, you’ll want to know not to dress them in big winter coats while strapped into a car seat. That makes sense from a safety standpoint. 

But as someone who has lived in chilly climates I also know that, well, babies get cold! Ideally, we could all warm up our cars and then load our babies, never exposing them to the chill. But that isn’t always feasible. 

I, for one, spent last winter living in a home with an outside parking place around the corner from where we lived. 

I had to get a two and half-year-old and newborn twins out to the car by myself in freezing weather. 

Even if you do have a warm garage to load up in once you are out you can’t just leave your kids in the store while you go warm up the car. 

So you need to be able to keep kids warm in a cold car. Let’s talk about how to dress baby in winter car seat solutions and tips for keeping kids warm in a car seat during the winter!

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how to dress baby for car seat winter

How to Dress Baby for a Car Seat in Winter

Dress Kids and Babies in Thin Layers

This is a go-to for anyone in cold weather.  I loved layering my babies in long sleeve onesies. 

It added extra warmth without a lot of bulk. If we just had to run in and out of the car try adding a long sleeve t-shirt over top.

It will be a little extra warmth that is easy to take off when you get in your destination. How to dress baby for winter in car seat starts with that first layer!

Invest in Hoodies

I don’t know about other babies, but mine have almost always pulled their hats right off. 

And before they were old enough to pull off their hats they would manage to twist around enough to get the hats in their eyes or just off anyway. 

Hoodies help solve that problem. You can find cute, thin hoodies in baby sizes and I love them. 

Again they don’t add bulk that can impact car seat safety, but they offer up some head protection that stays in place. 

This also works on young toddlers who stubbornly remove their hats. When wondering what can babies wear in car seat – a hoodie is a great bet!

how to dress baby for car seat winter

Put Your Child’s Coat on Backwards

If you are strapping your baby into a bucket seat in your house this is super easy to do there. Just strap your baby in and then put the coat on over the straps. 

For a toddler in a convertible seat, you can put the coat on backward and just unzip when it is time to hop into the car seat. 

You have to take the arms out to strap them in, but at least you can take off one arm at a time instead of the whole coat.

Utilize a Car Seat Blanket

When I was pregnant with my son I bought some fleece from the fabric store with the plans to make little blankets for him. 

Well… that didn’t quite happen. But those fleece pieces are just fine as blankets on their own. 

In the winter, I keep a couple in the car as baby travel blankets. They are cute, warm, and easy to throw in the washer if they get dirty. 

I like having the fun fleece because my son liked his patterns and was happy to have it on him in the car.  It is the ultimate no-sew blanket. 

Just get about three feet of fleece from the fabric store and you’re done! 

If you know ahead of time you are going to be super cold when you get into the car you can pick up a couple of little hand warmers to keep in the car. 

Activate one then wrap the fleece around it to keep it from getting too cold in your car while you are at your destination.

how to dress baby for car seat winter

Consider a “Bundle-Me” Type Product

I know, you aren’t supposed to add anything to a car seat but hear me out. For especially cold climates there are products that go around a car seat, kind of like a shower cap.

They don’t go between the child and the car seat straps, so they are safer. They are great for a baby who kicks off blankets. 

There are kinds with thin fleece that do go between the child and the seat, forming a little sleeping bag.  This is a great, simple trick for dressing baby for winter car seat travel moments!

They are great if you are out and about with your child in their stroller or just carrying the bucket seat around. 

For babies, it is easier to use than a jacket. 

I also loved that I could tuck my baby’s burp cloth, lovie, etc. in it while we were walking about town, like a giant pocket. 

Bonus these car seat covers are also excellent for breastfeeding to cover up and work awesome for napping babies as well! I like having them for travel to help my babies take naps on road trips.

Can Baby Wear Bunting in a Car Seat?

As long as it can be put on after baby is buckled in safely (like the car seat covers mentioned above) then yes. But if they interfere with the straps or the buckles in any way, then you shouldn’t use them!

Fortunately, you know how to keep baby warm in a car seat now, so you don’t have to worry about it!

Dressing a Baby for a Car Seat in Winter: Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the ways I have found to keep my kids warm and safe in cars with freezing temperatures. 

Knowing how to dress your baby for winter in car seat and how to keep kiddos warm in a car seat in the winter will give you such peace of mind!

Do you have any suggestions on other ways for how to dress baby in winter for car seat or how to keep kids warm while maintaining car seat safety?

Planning ahead for warmer months? Be sure to read this post for how to keep a car seat cool in the summer!

Kimberly blogs at  She has a three year old son and twin ten month old daughters.  She has spent three winters keeping her babies warm and safe in the freezing Midwest so she has become quite the pro on dressing baby for car seat tips!

You can view more of my car seat safety posts here:

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