We received this item free for review. All opinions remain our own.
Baby Parka Car Seat Cover Review
Winter. When I was single and childless, the season used to bring with it images of ski trips and mugs of cocoa by the fire. Now married and with four kids, all I can picture as the last leaves fall from their branches and the temperature starts dropping are boots, snowsuits, and lots of yelling every time we leave the house. No matter how hard I try, our entryway looks like a graveyard where missing mittens and too-small boots go to die. [Sorry- Maman Loup here, I feel the need to confirm for you, dear readers, that this is, in fact, very true.]
When I was a new mother with my eldest daughter, Emma (now 7), it seemed logical to stuff her into the warmest snowsuit I could find, plunk her in her car seat and cross my fingers that she would stay comfortable as I ran in and out of grocery stores and coffee shops all winter long. Not only was getting her wriggling little body into that suit a nightmare, but to my horror, it was incredibly unsafe. Thanks to the wonders of mommy groups and social media, I learned with my third (Noah, now 2), that any padded winter wear that comes between your child and the seat belt can be compressed and create a space big enough for them to be thrown from the seat during an accident. (You can find out more about winter gear and car seats here.)
Thankfully, nothing of the sort ever happened to my older children, but like the saying goes, when we know better, we do better.
Enter the Baby Parka Car Seat Cover. It’s a shell that goes over top of the infant car seat, which means that not only does it keep the baby warm, but it’s also the safest way to protect your little one from both winter’s cold temps and in the event of a collision. It fits over most standard infant seats with its elastic around the base, and has a double zipper for easy access, making it quick to take on and off the seat, as well as for getting baby in and out in a rush.
The fleece inner means that all my son Evan (3 months) needs to go out on a frigid fall day is a hat to cover the little bits of exposed skin peeking through. When temperatures in Montreal dip below zero, I can add an extra blanket and maybe a neck warmer to make sure he stays toasty.
More often than not, it’s dark in Canada in the winter, and when you’ve got the carrier over your arm and are walking through the parking lot or crossing the street, this reflective tape will just make you and your baby that much more visible.
Using a car seat cover means baby can be comfortable staying in his seat once you’ve arrived in doors, since you can remove his hat and any extra blankets without having to undress him completely. Evan is pretty happy about that!
According to Baby Parka, their car seat cover is made up of three layers. The exterior layer is wind and water resistant. The interlining has thermal qualities, thanks to a product called Powderfill™. The interior is an anti-pill fleece that will stand up to multiple washings.
The Baby Parka Car Seat Cover is a near-perfect solution for my winter baby woes. I have just a couple suggestions to make it even better: I’d love the addition of an adjustable elastic. The cover goes onto your carrier like a shower cap, but with my Maxi Cosi Mico seat, I found that the cover didn’t stay as taut as I would have liked. A drawstring-type closure would allow parents to adjust the tightness of the elastic depending on the size of their car seat. We’ve chatted with the makers of Baby Parka about this, and though they feel adding a toggle to the elastic would increase the cost of this Made-in-Canada product, they are working on a stretchier elastic to ensure the best fit on all bucket seats.
Something that doesn’t impede function but that would still be an overall improvement is the type of fabric used for the exterior of the cover. Unfortunately, the fabric picks up all the lint and cat fur in our house, so it needs frequent attention from the lint roller.
Just a note that as with any carrier cover of this style, you must use your car seat base if you want to leave it on in the car. The pathways for the seat belt when installing without a base are covered by the carrier.
The Baby Parka Car Seat cover is designed and made in Canada to keep baby safe and warm in the winter. The slightly loose fit on my particular model of car seat is something I can definitely live with, and a couple swipes of the lint roller never killed anyone. The reflective band is a really practical touch, and the “Buckle Me” label is not as condescending as one might initially think! It’s easy to forget if you’ve unbuckled the straps while in the grocery store, and that reminder will catch your eye as you load baby back into the car.
How do you keep baby warm in his bucket seat?