In our never ending quest to give parents and caregivers options when it comes to keeping their children safe AND warm in the car (and beyond!) we are pleased to bring you some hands on experience and comments about two products from Baby Parka, a Canadian company with design and manufacturing in Canada.
Infant Car Seat Cover
Sheila, a West Coast technician with a baby (always a handy feature when testing infant products!) had a go with the car seat cover intended for use with rear-facing only seats, also known as infant seats or bucket seats. Here is her take:
“I got to try out the Baby Parka this fall and winter, and I’d say it’s a winner. I used it for my niece, who I call my ‘plus one’ baby because she tags along with my crew a lot. It kept her cozy, and made quick outings much easier since I didn’t have to worry about what she was wearing. I tried it on both a Peg Perego 30/30 and the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35. It worked fine for both, but fit the Graco really nicely without slipping around.
I like that it opens right up, so when the car warms up you can unzip to keep them cool. I found it kept her well covered and out of the weather, while still letting me see her face. The reflective strip is a nice touch for our dark winter mornings and evenings. The only thing I might change would be to make it slightly adjustable for smaller or larger carseats.”
The cover did not interfere with a baseless installation of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35, although a bit of fiddling was required to get everything properly adjusted. Whether it works with a baseless install for your particular seat or not without getting in the way is going to depend entirely on your seat and vehicle combination, and how the seat belt routes. With the more common use with stay-in-car base there is no interference at all.
The Infant Car Seat Cover comes with reflective stripes, and a “buckle me” tag. Important note though – any time a child is in a car seat they should be properly buckled. Sadly children have slipped out of position or been tangled in straps that were loosened to make them more comfortable while not in the car. If your child isn’t in the car the safest option is to remove them from the car seat straightaway as car seats aren’t intended as safe sleep places.
Our tester was really impressed with the quality of the fabric and how it held up after repeated washings. The Infant Car Seat Cover is available in black, red, blue, stone (tan), and light pink. It retails for $70 online here. Light pink was shown in this review.
Ontario Instructor Alainna tested the Toddler Coat with her two kids and here are her thoughts:
When the Baby Parka toddler coat/poncho arrived I was quite pleased to note that the fabric felt very warm and luxurious, and the construction appeared to be very high quality. The stitching was straight and strong, the zippers were good quality and easy to zip, and it had a nice warm ‘heft’ to it. The reflective tape was a nice addition for added safety.
My kids are used to wearing packable down jackets in the car, and were both a bit reluctant to try something new, but both of them ended up liking the poncho after a day of use.
My oldest is 5 (about 56lbs and 46″, so the size of a 7 year old), and the poncho is just a little bit short on her wrists, although still wearable with longer mittens. My youngest is almost 3 (about 35lbs and 36″), and it fits him very well. I would guess that it would start fitting kids well around 18 months or so, when they can walk in it without tripping.
In the car seat it covered both kids quite well, and kept them very cozy. In fact, both kids asked to take it off after the vehicle got warm on long drives, which was super easy to do (much easier than when they want their jacket or sweater off!). The poncho works in the car seat as a blanket with a head hole, enabling proper harness positioning and buckling against the child’s body.
I do wish that the hood was removable, as it was a bit bulky behind the head, especially if they were wearing a hoodie underneath, but for the most part they didn’t seem bothered by it. The zippers under the arms can be a little bit fussy to get done up, especially if the child won’t hold still. But they do close the poncho up nicely and keep the cold out. It isn’t really necessary to zip them up if you’re only walking to and from the vehicle, but it’s nice to have the option to keep them warm if you have a longer walk or are spending some time outside.
Overall, a poncho is a bit more finicky than the jackets we’re used to using, but the extra warmth and the years of use make up for that!
As with the infant car seat cover we were impressed with the quality of the fabric and how it held up after washing. The Baby Parka Toddler coat is available in black (shown here), blue, red, or light pink, and retails for $110 online here.
Thank you to Baby Parka for the samples used in this review, but as usual, all opinions are our own. Thanks to Baby Parka for providing one product each (infant car seat cover and toddler coat) to win! Want to order your own? Use promo code VI Car Seat Tech 10 off for $10 off an order.
To enter use the Rafflecopter widget below, and to be eligible to win make sure to comment on our blog below answering the following questions: Which product would you get more use out of (infant or toddler), and what colour would you choose? Good luck everyone, and remember, comments are moderated which means yours won’t show up right away. Just tell the Rafflecopter widget “I commented” and trust us to get to it.
Alainna Smith, reviewer of the toddler coat, is a permanently frazzled mother of 2 who likes to read and sew in her (nonexistent) spare time. She is a Technician – Instructor with CPSAC and runs Car Seat Coach in Guelph, Ontario.
Sheila Northcott, reviewer of the infant car seat cover, is a mum of 4 in Duncan BC, and when she’s not kid-wrangling she tries to squeeze in time as a CPST and doula. Find her on Facebook at Dishwashing Doula.