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One of the last posts I wrote was lamenting the end of summer. I apparently spoke too soon because it was like 90 degrees here up until last week, then last night we had tornadoes, and now it’s 72. So…fall? Maybe. It’s that weird weather where it’s freezing in the morning but if you wear long sleeves you are sweating your you-know-what off by the afternoon. However, I know this means that steadily cool weather is not far away, and with it comes this previous desert-dwelling girl’s most hated thing: getting in a cold car.

So what do you do when the weather is cold? Wear a jacket, obviously. But if you’ve been around us for awhile you know the age-old lesson of bulky coats and car seats: NOPE. Jennie has elaborated on this way better than I could in her article on winter coat suggestions. So what the heck are you supposed to do? Well, one option that has recently become available is to purchase a coat specifically made to be worn in a car seat.

Enter an up-and-coming new company called Buckle Me Baby Coats. Based out of New Hampshire, Buckle Me Baby Coats (we’re going to refer to them as BMBC from here on out) was founded by a brilliant and creative mother of 3, Dahlia. She was searching for a way to put her idea in action for years, and after some time and hard work, the coat was born!

The coat comes in six fashions. Blue (Deepest of Oceans), orange (Orange-inal), pink (Power of Pink), purple (Indi-go-go-go), red (I Lava You), and an olive green (The Warrior Within). Declan’s favorite color is red, and since I knew he actually had to like the coat to cooperate with me, Dahlia was nice enough to send me the ‘I Lava You’ fashion.

Right when the coat was delivered, I noticed even the packaging was adorable. They could have used plain mailing envelopes but instead, they had their logo right on the front and there was no doubt what was inside!

First impression? The quality. I’m used to the typical puffy kids’ coats that are that slippery and shiny material. Fine for little kids but it always screams “cheap” to me. Plus for us, it always rips when my kids are running around through trees and launching themselves onto the ground. This jacket is a more solid feeling material and not shiny at all. I can see it easily holding up to rolls on the concrete and snags in the woods. I also really liked the color. It was more of a deep cherry red than a bright one, which was refreshing since it seems all kids clothes are neon these days. The inside is lined with colorful fleece. The weight is just right. According to Dahlia, the back is thinner than the front but has the same density of material in it. That way there is no bulk between the child and the car seat but warmth is not compromised. The interesting thing about this coat is that it buttons on the side instead of the front. I thought that would make it look a little odd, but honestly, I really like it and I don’t think it makes the coat look out of place at all. In fact, I think it actually adds some style.

Declan is 4 years old and about 32lbs and 40-ish inches tall. He typically wears a 3t-4t. I received a 4t and it’s perfect for him with some growing room. The coat is available in sizes 12 months – big kid size 8.

So how does it work? BMBC has great videos and tutorials on their website for customers to view, but it’s really easy. You simply place your child in the seat with their coat unsnapped, place their right arm through one strap and their left arm through the other along with the opened panel. You can either roll the panel and secure with the Velcro strip located there on the side so they don’t overheat, or you can close the panel and snap it up to keep them warm. There are snaps on the shoulders as well that, when opening the panel, expose the shoulders and allow the harness to have direct contact with the body with no coat material in between. An additional advantage of being able to close and snap the jacket over the harness? It’s an extra obstacle for those little Houdinis who try to unbuckle themselves!

I also asked my 7-year-old to give it a try. Obviously, the coat was too small for him but I just wanted to show how it can work well for booster riders too! The shoulder belt rested comfortably against his shoulder without the jacket interfering. He’s slouching and being silly since I was taking his picture, but you can see how this jacket is really great for all ages.

Another important thing- washing! Washing instructions are right inside the jacket and are very straightforward. I decided to give it a run through the machine to see how it held up and I’ll tell you that it did just fine and I wouldn’t know it had been washed. The color didn’t bleed at all, and there was no fading. I would recommend washing it alone though because as you can see, there’s some sock fuzz stuck on the Velcro and after awhile it may not stick so well.

Lastly, the biggest question: is it safe? According to their website, BMBC has been crash tested at an independent crash testing facility. You can actually see one of their crash tests directly on their website. They are a transparent company and I’m sure would welcome any concerns or questions their customers may have.

My personal opinion is that it is a great alternative to the traditional jacket, if not better. We’ve always used the cheap down packable Snozu jackets from Costco and they’ve worked well enough. I don’t have to alter the harness tension to use them since they are easily compressible (which is a give away to whether the coat can be used or not, see Jennie’s post about the Jacket Slack Challenge) but my kids often complain of feeling “stuffed”. The BMBC allows the harness to sit against the child’s clothing as if they weren’t wearing any jacket at all and it eliminated the squished feeling for my kiddos.

All in all, I was very impressed and glad I got the opportunity to review it. It’s easy to use, cute, warm and doesn’t interfere with using your child’s seat properly. Also, it’s made in here in the USA! There isn’t a hood, which may be a turn off for some people but my kids wear hats and just choke each other by yanking on each other’s hoods anyway so I actually prefer it. The only downside? I can see having a minor heart attack looking in the mirror and seeing my kids wearing it because when it’s snapped shut, it looks as though they are just sitting in their car seats and not strapped in at all! But after I returned my heart to a normal rhythm, I would be glad they were warm, happy, and most of all, safe.

The coat can be purchased for $89.99-$99 on Bucklemecoats.com. The sizes run from 12 months to a big kid size 8.

Thank you so much to Dahlia with Buckle Me Baby Coats for the review sample! No other compensation was provided and the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.