By now you can probably tell I’m a bit obsessed with car safety. Most likely because I went from urban living (read: not driving for a dozen years) to suburban living (read: driving everywhere, all the time). Learning car seat etiquette is very different when you go somewhere once a month versus every time you need milk (this is where – if I was on a sitcom – there would be a flashback to me running with no coat, wearing slippers to the supermarket literally in my apartment building to buy milk).
With my constant in-the-car-ness now, I have researched car seat safety, driving safety, car seat inspections and of course, forced my poor freezing children to take off their coats every time we go in the car.
Even if we are just going down the street.
To buy milk.
I should say I also made all grandparents swear to do this in their cars too with the fierceness of Ursula when she makes Ariel sign away her voice. Now sing.
Enter the CozyWoggle.
When I learned about the CozyWoggle back in September – during Child Passenger Safety Month, I became a bit obsessed. I asked to review a coat for the blog but they were – not surprisingly – sold out. In case you missed all the hubbub on the Twittersphere, the CozyWoggle is the ONLY product that looks and acts like a coat, but is safe to be worn in a car seat. Yes, SAFE TO BE WORN IN A CAR SEAT! It is made from heavy-duty wind/water resistant polyester, and is lined with cozy fleece.
A little begging followed.
Then, miraculously on my daughter’s birthday, her new CozyWoggle arrived. Tada!
On it went immediately. We watched the video and a warm triumph followed. The idea is simple – you’ve got your normal zipper down the front, but then there is a zipper on each side under the arms as well. You basically make the coat into a cape so you can lock the car seat straps right on your child. Once safely clicked in place, your child can slip their arms back into the open sleeves and bam! Warm-o-rama! Genius! The coat feels sturdy and seems to be very well made. It is warm but not overly puffy.
But who am I – the mother – to give an official seal of approval?
The next morning, on our maiden voyage to school, as my son sat shivering waiting for the car to warm up, my daughter volunteered “I don’t need the heat, I’m feeling warm from my coat!” My heart smiled.
As children are known to be fickle, I waited a few days to solicit some additional five year old feedback. Besides saying it was “SO cozy” about forty five times, she said she liked the color, the feel, the pockets – which were “so warm I don’t even need gloves!”, and that it smelled good. Not quite sure about the last one but if she was happy I was happy.
Of course the end of the day question is how much extra time will this take you per ride. As in your “HURRY UP AND GET IN THE #$%^ing CAR” number. I’m happy to report this number is minimal. And this is coming from a mom who reads those “don’t yell at your kid to rush” articles and feels bad about herself.
I LOVE the idea that nothing comes between her and her car seat straps and that she can be warm as we drive around. To be honest, the coat is so cute with the sides open she wears it like that most days. Of course, leave it to my daughter to carry off the coat as a fashionable cape – or as she calls it – her “super hero cape!” – along with her little Ninja Turtle hat.
Luckily her love for this coat has only grown. She runs to it every morning and has been super excited to show her friends and Grandparents how it transforms. By far, her favorite part is the arm zippers which she thinks are “really fun!”. So much so she declared she wants to “wear it every day until I’m 52”. While the 5T is quite generous in size and will most likely fit her next year, 52 might be a stretch. But I think by the year 2062 she’ll be in the driver’s seat. Sniff.
I love this coat. I love that she loves this coat! I love that she stays warm and safe and thinks it is fun. I’m pretty sure the depths of her fan-hood could be summed up in what she said this morning. We were all ready to leave for school and suddenly she yells “Take it off! Take it off! I’m going to sneeze and I don’t want to get germs on my coat. I love it too much!”.
The CozyWoggle is available in four colors: red, navy blue, purple, and pink. It comes in sizes 12 months, 18 months, 2T, 3T, 4, 5 and 6. You can buy one on the CozyWoggle website or on Amazon. I picked a neutral red so the coat can be a beloved hand me down for my son once my daughter grows out of it. Unlike the pink footie pajamas I sneak him into sometimes…
CozyWoggle is currently offering 30% off on their site!
Here is a little more on the CozyWoggle because as you know – I LOVE learning about the heritage of brands:
Alexandria, VA, based CJ’s Kids was started by Cherlyn Jenkins – a special education teacher and behavior specialist in 2012. When Cherlyn’s kids were little, she learned that young children shouldn’t be placed in car seats while wearing their coats. This is because traditional coats often compress in a car accident, leaving the 5-point harness straps loose and putting children at greater risk for injury and even ejection from their car seats. She needed to find a way to keep her children warm, while also keeping them safe – and didn’t want to juggle even more items, like extra jackets or blankets. She couldn’t find a coat or jacket proven to be safe in car seats, so she created one herself. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s certainly true in this case!
As parents, we excel at safety-proofing our homes, putting up gates on our stairs and latches on our cabinets, but then we inadvertently jeopardize our children’s safety by putting them into their car seats wearing traditional coats. Crash tests conducted at an NHTSA approved lab, MGA Research, have demonstrated that wearing the Cozywoggle while riding in a car seat is safer than wearing a traditional coat. In fact, the Cozywoggle was proven to be as safe as riding in a car seat without any coat at all.