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If you are looking for ways to keep your baby comfortable in their car seat or want to stay organized on the road, you’ve come to the right place. We have a bunch of cool accessories that can keep your baby happy and safe — and others to help keep your car tidy and clean (or maybe slightly less of a disaster).
In this article, we’ll take you through some “must-have” car seat accessories to up the fun factor for your little one, while making your life a bit easier! But first, we need to have a little chat about keeping your child safe in the car!
WHAT TO DO: SAFETY TIPS
As a parent, keeping your baby safe on the road is a top priority. While most car seat safety protocols are common knowledge (we hope), there are some lesser-known recommendations that may have slipped your mind. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts where car seats are concerned:
- DO keep your baby rear-facing for as long as possible. Rear-facing positioning of the seat better protects their head and spine in the event of a crash. Refer to the weight and height limit of the seat.
- DO monitor the clock: Babies should only be in their car seat for a maximum of 2 hours over a 24-hour period. Following this advice reduces strain on their developing spine and keeps airflow unrestricted if they fall asleep and their head falls forward.
- DO monitor their temperature: Young babies can’t regulate their body temperature, so check them regularly by feeling their tummy or the back of their neck. A sweaty/clammy baby will need to have some layers removed.
- DO keep them at the proper angle. The proper car seat angle depends on your child's weight, height, and if your child is in a rear or forward-facing car seat. Use the specific indicators on the car seat to make sure you have the proper angle for your little one. Most car seat manufacturers will include a level indicator on the seat’s base to help you figure out the proper angle.
WHAT NOT TO DO
- DON’T install the car seat on the front passenger seat: Your car’s passenger seat has an airbag that can deploy and potentially harm your baby.
- DON'T include any added pillows or seat accessories: Make sure there are no objects present that create space between your baby and the seat.
- DON’T attach toys to the car seat: Toys and mobiles are fun for baby to play with but can fly through the air in the event of a collision.
- DON’T dress your child in bulky clothing: Attire like heavy coats and snowsuits are not to be worn under the seat’s harness. Doing so can prevent the seat from working properly (as the harness won’t be snug and correctly positioned).
- DON’T leave your baby unattended in the car: While it seems like a no-brainer, it’s still worth mentioning that you should never leave your child unattended in their car seat. Heatstroke is one of the top vehicle-related deaths for children. Even at 15°C outside, the car’s interior can heat up to 43°C within minutes. To put it in perspective, babies can die when their body temperature reaches 42°C.
- DON’T use the wrong car seat: Do your research before purchasing. Ensure the car seat meets safety standards and your child aligns with your car seat's weight and height requirements.
- DON'T put a swaddle over the car seat, it's not good for baby's airflow and is not recommended.
To learn more about car seat safety, check out our podcast episode “Car Seat Safety 101: Protecting Your Precious Cargo”
MUST-HAVE CAR SEAT ACCESSORIES
From covers to organizers to toys, the right car accessories can make long trips more comfortable for parents and kids!
The Stow ‘n Go is an extra-large organizer that drapes over the back of your vehicle’s front seat and gives you a place to store things like wipes, diapers, and anything else needed for the ride. You never know when you’ll need to do an emergency diaper change, so having everything in arm’s reach will come in handy.
A clean baby is a healthy baby! You can use this Car Sanitizing Station from Skip Hop to keep your baby’s sticky fingers clean and germ-free!
Adding a car seat cup holder is a great way to keep their bottle handy when baby gets thirsty. Of note, these are usually brand specific.
If you decide to include toys for your child to play with, make sure they’re not attached to the seat and won’t hurt if thrown in an accident. The Baby Taggies Soft Book and the small Bashful Bunny from Jellycat are great examples of something they can play with while being safe at the same time.
CAR SEAT PROTECTOR:
Protect your vehicle’s upholstery by using the Clean Sweep Car Seat Protector from Skip Hop. It can be used with both forward and rear-facing seats, is made of durable foam, and is designed with channels that catch crumbs for easy cleaning!
CAR SEAT COVER:
Once you get to your destination and are ready to attach your car seat to a travel system, you can use the Cocoon Car Seat Cover to keep baby protected from the harshest of elements.
Protect your baby from the sun’s glare with the Brica Stretch-to-Fit Sun Shade. Its mesh can be stretched, allowing you to custom-fit it to your car’s window! The White Hot Sun Safety Shades by Munchkin are also a great option that’s easy to use, offers retractable protection, and is built with a patented heat alert system that turns white when the car is too hot.
PARENT & BABY APPROVED
Attaching an extra mirror to the backseat’s headrest helps you keep an eye on baby (and vice versa). The Britax Back Seat Mirror is a popular choice here at Snuggle Bugz, while the Skip Hop Silving Lining Cloud Entertainment Car Mirror is an interactive option with lights, music, and white noise for baby.
Instead of wearing bulky items that won’t fit a harness properly, you can keep your child snug and warm in their seat with the safety-approved Toastiest Car Seat Coat. For added comfort, you can drape a small blanket over them such as the Lambs & Ivy Fleece Baby Blanket.
Overall, car seat accessories can make a world of difference in keeping your little one safe and comfortable when they’re accompanying you to the store or going on a long trip. From seat covers to cup holders, there is a wide range of accessories available to suit all budgets and preferences. With our must-have car seat accessories list, you can be sure that your little one will be safe and happy on every journey!
For more great accessories, click here.