So, because he never believes me until I can PROVE him wrong, I took these photos of our 3 year old daughter in her car seat when it was in the house.
|Strapped in as tight as I could do up the straps|
with her winter coat on.
|Coat off. Chest clip is not in the right position.|
|The space between the straps and her chest are as wide as my hand.|
When I put her back in and clipped in the straps exactly as they were when she was wearing her coat, you can see that there is more to this than the chest clip being a little low. The straps were so loose that I could put my hand sideways between the harness system and her body. Since I didn't use a tape measure in the photo, I'll tell you that my hand is 4 inches across.
|Side view of the space between her chest and the clip.|
What I do is put the kids in their car seats wearing a long-sleeved shirt and a light sweater or sweat shirt. Then, after strapping them in safely, I put their coat on them backwards, putting their arms in the sleeves, and tucking the coat in beside them. (Not behind them because that can add bulk too.)
We also always have a few blankets in the car to cover legs, and if it's too warm to put that coat on them backwards, but too cool to just have them in there in a sweatshirt, I will put a blanket over their chest, leaving only their arms out.
If you have time to warm the vehicle up before you get in, that's ideal. No need to put a coat on backwards, no need for blankets. Just get in and go. If you want to take the coats with you, you can always put them on the kids so you can go from the vehicle to the store/mall/house you're going to go in to, and they'll still be warm.
It's pretty easy to keep them safe in the winter if you know the risk involved in putting them in their car seat in their coats. Sometimes all we need is to be told, and our creativity comes out. (I'm sure there are many other great ideas out there on how to keep kids warm in the vehicle without a coat, but the ones I listed are the ones we've used.)
Now you know. : )