Car Seat Saftey

Q&A: Is a car seat insert safe for your baby when driving?

UPDATE: November 14, 2013- I’ve added a Facebook discussion about this article (from the to the bottom of this post.

Whenever I write a new blog post, I promote it to the Mountain Baby email list. I recently wrote a blog post called Getting Out the Door with your New Baby.

In my email, I linked to the blog post as well as to the JJ Cole BundleMe Baby Stroller/ Carseat Bunting that we sell.

In describing the product I wrote: “here’s a great cold weather time saver when you’re heading out with the carseat or stroller”

A day after I sent the email, I got an email reply from a concerned mother about my product recommendation. After reading the post, she was very concerned about my car seat insert product suggestion with regards to car travel safety for babies and car seats.

With permission, I’m sharing the emails here as I thought you would be able to get benefit from the exchange.

Here’s what she said:

Date: Sun, Nov 3, 2013 at 7:10 AM
Subject: Re: Chilly with a chance of being on time
To: Mountain Baby

Hi Judy

My name is Sam and I am a customer from Calgary. We visit Nelson every summer for two weeks and love your store! Your online store was also the only place we could find a real sleeping bag for camping with our baby, so thank you thank you!

I’ve enjoyed your blog posts, your support of breast feeding (and the bravado bra) and your suggestions for products to help get outside with your little ones. I usually know that your products have been vetted and are great.

I read about your recent promotion of the JJ Cole Bundle Me in car seats and was surprised because of the safety concerns. Below are two links, one to Transport Canada’s Information Notice / Advisory against after market car seat products including bundle bags, the second to a great article with many car seat safety links, which includes discussion of how the BundleMe was tested by US safety groups and approved, but not “safety tested” for Canada.

I liken the sale of these products to the sale if crib bumper pads: known to be dangerous but not “illegal”. If you are aware of these warnings, I would be interested in your opinions /debate about why parents should use them. It is always hard to but a little one is a cold car seat wearing significantly less clothes than you think is warm, then covering them with blankets, but I have been doing it in the name of safety.

I value your opinion. Thank you for your time.

My reply:
Date: Sun, Nov 3, 2013 at 11:41 PM
Subject: Re: Car seat inserts
To: Sam K.

Hi Sam,

Thanks so much for your very thoughtful feedback. I have spent the morning reading over information about babies and car seats. There is a great deal of controversy about it and very strong opinions!

You are right that Mountain Baby is extremely conscious of safety concerns and we do vet all of our products. Generally speaking, when a product is disallowed in Canada, the Canadian distributor will not sell it. So my assumption about the Bundle Me, and the fact that it was crash tested and allowed for sale in Canada, had me feel that it was a safe product. 

I have seen many parents put their babies in very cheap, fat snowsuits, which are definitely unsafe. In my description of the Bundle Me I say that you don’t need big bulky snowsuits if you use the Bundle me as the carseat straps go directly onto the baby, and the cover goes over the straps. Here is what is on the Canadian Babies R Us site:

In line with JJ Cole’s commitment to child safety, the Bundle Me has been tested to FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) 213 requirements. All tests passed on the child restraint system, indicating that the Bundle Me product appeared to have little to no effect on the performance of the child restraint system.

Parents are always wrestling with choices about what is best for their babies. Our winters are harsh and parents want to keep their babies warm enough and they want to be outdoors with their babies as well. They have to decide if they should put their baby in a snowsuit in the car seat (one of the reasons we sell very high quality, “technical” snowsuits is that they have very little bulk),  or just cover them with blankets, and then stand in the freezing cold outside the car with the door open and the cold  air and snow blowing,  trying to put the baby into a snowsuit so they can go into the baby carrier or stroller and be sufficiently protected from the cold. A difficult choice.

It’s in someways like the sunscreen debate; no, you are not supposed to use sunscreen on a baby under six months, but realistically, especially if you have older children, you will be out in the bright summer sun and some parts of the baby’s body will be exposed to the sun, and better to use a really high quality surface sunscreen (with zinc or titanium dioxide), then have the baby burn.

I don’t have an easy answer, but I will put a note on the product about safety concerns so that parents are making an informed choice. (I can’t promise I’ll get to that today, but definitely tomorrow.

Thanks again for your thoughtfulness and concerns. I truly appreciate the feedback and it did get me doing lots of reading. Have a great weekend!

Her reply:
Date: Sun, Nov 3, 2013 at 12:21 PM
Subject: Re: Car seat inserts
To: Judy Banfield
You are awesome Judy. I thank you for your opinion, it seems to make a lot of sense. It will also help me to make an informed choice with what to do with my little one this winter. Sorry if I railroaded your lovely Sunday morning with reading about carseat safety :). Mountain Baby is and will continue to he my favorite trusted baby / kids store. Have a wonderful (and warm) winter.

More discussion on Facebook:

Judy Banfield

I’m Judy Banfield and I’m here to help you feel better about yourself as a person and more confident and secure as a parent.

In my 30+ years of working with babies, young children and parents, I have learned that valuing and treasuring and deeply knowing yourself gives you the foundation to more confidently and joyfully, love, treasure, teach and guide your children.

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