If you found this review of the Buckle Me Baby car seat coat, you belong to the top few percentiles of most detailed-oriented and safety-conscious parents.
And I’m not pandering. I mean it.
We go on and on about the safety features of the new car seat we snagged in a Black Friday sale. The steel cage, the side-impact protection, all that hoopla…
But if someone were to say that the actual risk lies in not using the seat properly, most parents would shrug it off because it’s uncomfortable.
But it’s true – not using the seat correctly increases the risk of serious injury by 3.5 times.
Uncomfortable, I know!
A big part of that problem is how snugly the seat belt fits.
If you live in a colder climate, you know the struggle of keeping your child warm in a car seat without compromising their safety with a bulky winter jacket.
That’s where specialized car seat baby coats like the Buckle Me come in.
In the review below, we’ll ‘sew it apart at the seams’ and put it back together to see if it lives up to the hype.
Let’s dive right in…
At-a-glance features of the Buckle Me Baby Car Seat Coat
Depending on how cold your sinters get, you’ll choose one of the three versions of the car seat coat: toasty, toastier, and toastiest.
We’ll start with the features of the Toasty version and then list the added features of the two upgrades:
Features of the Toasty:
- Removable front and open shoulders – allows you to easily fit the seat belt with no space between your kid and the straps (velcro closures)
- Robust middle zipper
- Warm fleece lining
- Thinner on the back – makes for a better (read: safer) harness fit
- Water and wind-resistant materials
- Machine washable – makes it easy to maintain
Add-on features of the Toastier:
- Extendable sleeves – the coat will ‘grow with your kid’ and save you the cost of getting a new one.
- Chunky collar – rib-knit for extra warmth.
Add-on features of the Toastiest:
- Removable hood – you just snap it off and on, and the built-in magnets keep it in place. Great for those extra cold mornings.
- High-end designer fleece – the sherpa lining looks and feels cozier.
Specs – sizes and colors of the Buckle Me Baby Car Seat Coat
You don’t have to play the guessing game based on charts and tables.
Instead, you grab a measuring tape and take a size quiz on their website here.
The first step in the quiz is to choose between the 2020 and the 2021 versions of the coat. The two versions are the same product with different sizing options.
On the other end of the quiz is a precise size recommendation with little to no room for mistakes.
If you still decide to go with the sizing tables, it’s worth noting that the coats run true to size.
The new sizes added to the versatility – the coat is an option for both infant and convertible car seats. If you’re not sure about the difference between the two, you can read more here – infant car seats vs convertible car seats.
Benefits of the Buckle Me Baby Car Seat Coat
First things first – safety
Experts say that any material that can move or slide during an accident (like puffy winter jackets) is a safety hazard.
The Buckle Me Baby Car Seat Coat allows you to tighten the harness in the same way you would if there was no jacket.
That means no gaps between the seat belt and your child, which is the problem with winter jackets.
The coat is Crash Tested and CPST* and CPSC** approved.
The part that makes all the difference is getting all the material out of the front and shoulders. You can’t do this by unzipping a jacket.
You can see the difference between the movement of the coat and a regular winter jacket during a simulated collision in a video here.
Convenience compared to a winter jacket
You put the coat on at home and place the child in the seat.
You then open the front and the shoulders, strap the child in and close the coat – partially or completely, depending on how cold it is.
That’s certainly more convenient than taking the winter jacket off in the car and trying to cover the kid by putting it on backwards, which I’ve seen people do.
The alternative (just taking the risk) is not really an option for a safety-conscious parent.
More comfortable than a jacket
When the coat arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the material. It’s not your run-of-the-mill shiny puffer that you see everywhere these days.
The shell is soft to the touch, and the fleece lining feels cozy and welcoming. Most importantly, you control how snug or ventilated the coat is.
You can start the ride with the front closed down and zipped up, and then open it at the right spots as the temperature in the car rises. Again, not something you can do with a jacket.
Less fussing in the back seat
Those of us who lived it know how it feels – your child starts fussing and crying in the back seat, and there’s nothing you can do. Often, it comes down to them being too cold as you start the ride or getting too hot as the temperature rises.
The removable front and open shoulder design give you back some of that control.
Related read: baby hates car seat
What I like about the Buckle Me Baby Car Seat Coat
There’s a sentence on the coat‘s Amazon listing that made me chuckle…I love it because it rings so true.
“Experts recommend taking coats off in car seats, but experts aren’t around for epic parking lot meltdowns.”
They’ve hit the nail on the head with that one.
A safety concern without an obvious solution is every parent’s nightmare. And that’s precisely what you get when you pair the no-jacket-in-car recommendation with a cold winter.
That’s my primary concern because I’ve always been a safety zealot. And even if the coat did that one job – improving the safety, I’d love it.
The new ways to close/open a coat (velcros and side-zippers) will take getting used to. But, once you do it a few times and figure out what goes where, it gets easier.
Buckle Me Baby car seat coat review – the bottom line
As you use the coat, you notice details that could be better, but it’s nothing to write home about. The positives prevail by a mile.
The materials feel premium and the coat is well-crafted. If I had to guess the price, I’d guess at least 50% more than it actually costs.
I respect that!
I stress the price point because innovative one-of-a-kind products typically go for insane margins.
Not the case with the Buckle Me Coat.
It’s a conservatively priced, safer alternative to a winter jacket that makes a parent’s life easier.
Last but not least, it comes with a 30-day money-back warranty and, based on everything I’ve seen, their customer service is responsive and actually honors the warranties.
Two thumbs up from me.