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Infant Car Seat Cover

Car Seat Basics

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Updated July 16, 2014

An infant car seat cover can change the design of your baby's car seat and keep your baby warm.

An infant car seat cover can help you change the design of your baby's car seat and help keep your baby warm.

Photo © Vincent Iannelli, MD

Infant car seat covers go over your baby's original car seat pad, but still allow the harness straps to fit through.

Why might you need an infant car seat cover?

The most popular reason seems to be that these infant car seat covers come in a lot of "hip" designs and fabrics. Although car seats come in a lot of styles and patterns (the Graco SnugRide has 33 styles, from Emerson to Spring Meadow), if you like to change the look or aren't happy with the one that you originally picked, a designer infant car seat cover can be a good idea.

Since they are removable, an infant car seat cover is supposedly easier to clean than the original car seat padding. Keep in mind that the padding/cover in most car seats is removable and washable in a washing machine too.

A more practical reason to have an infant car seat cover might be that they might help to keep your baby warm in the winter, so that you don't have to worry about keeping your baby in a winter coat in her car seat. Depending on the fabric, a thick, soft infant car seat cover can be like laying on a warm blanket.

Infant Car Seat Cover Safety

Infant car seat covers are also sometimes marketed as a way to allow you to reuse an old baby car seat. And while a new car seat cover can make an old car seat look like new again, it is important to remember that you usually shouldn't use a car seat that is more than five to ten years old. Also, you should never use a car seat that has been in a moderate or severe crash, and it is impossible to tell the crash history of a car seat if you buy it used or second-hand.

Keep in mind that car seat covers typically aren't officially supported by car seat manufacturers, so make sure that your car seat cover is safe, fits well, and doesn't interfere with the harness straps on your baby's car seat. You might even check with your car seat's manufacturer or visit a car seat inspection station before using a car seat cover or other after-market car seat accessory.

Cover Your Baby's Car Seat

If your main concern is keeping your baby warm in cold weather, instead of a car seat cover, which is more precisely known as a car seat pad cover or car seat slip cover, you could use a cold weather boot or cover that goes over the whole car seat after your baby is buckled in.

A cold weather boot or infant seat boot just goes over your baby's legs, but if you usually have your baby in an infant carrier with a canopy, then she will be fairly well protected from the weather.

An infant car seat cover with an elastic edge that goes over the top of your baby's car seat, with an opening for her face, is another good way to keep her warm. They usually include a zipper down the middle to make it easy to get your baby in and out of her car seat.

Since neither a car seat cover or car seat boot actually touches the car seat's harness straps, they should be as safe as tucking "a blanket around your baby over the buckled harness straps," as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends doing in the winter.

Product List

Car seat covers are available for most infant and toddler car seats.



Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics. Car Safety Seats: A Guide for Families 2011.

Related Video
How to Install an Infant Car Seat
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