“Where’s her coat?!”
I had grown so tired of hearing this question/judgmental rhetorical statement from everyone we ran into during the winter months. Where was her coat? We didn’t use one, and it wasn’t because we were cruel, lazy, or absent-minded. It wasn’t that my husband and I were oblivious to the cold either–I went coatless right along with our daughter most of the time. After all, it didn’t seem right for me to be warm when she wasn’t. But the fact of the matter is it isn’t safe for children to wear coats in their car seats. Nothing thicker than a standard fleece pullover is recommended between their little bodies and the snug straps of the contraption that can save their lives in the event of an accident. So I dressed my daughter in fleece, along with boots, mittens, and a hat. And I carried a heavy blanket to throw over her as we rushed from house to car, car to grocery store, etc. From the reactions of random passersby, you’d have thought I was dragging her around in a swimsuit.
One afternoon, as we drove home from my in-laws’ house (after narrowly avoiding a fistfight over the coat issue), the answer finally came to me: I would invent a coat that could be worn safely in a car seat! A quick Google search revealed that someone had beaten me to it, but that was all the better, because I could actually have my daughter in such a coat THIS winter!
When we got home that evening I searched for promo codes but there were none to be found. I ended up ordering the Cozywoggle in a size 3T from the cj’skids website for $49.99. My daughter is in a 2T, but considering the price was a bit hard to swallow, I needed to tell myself she’d wear it for two winters (and that her sister might wear it for two more years after that). I ordered on a Sunday and received the coat just two days later.
The Cozywoggle appears to be well made, very simple with cute little embroidered penguins. The front and back are fleece lined, and it has all the warmth and puffiness you’d expect from a typical winter coat. I tried it on E, and she liked it a lot. It was just a little big on her, as I’d expected. She danced around the house and didn’t want to take it off, so it passed the comfort test. Hearing her say, “Cozywoggle” was an adorable bonus.
I was excited to try out the Cozywoggle, but like most endeavors involving two-year-olds, it was more difficult than I’d anticipated. When we got out to the car, I needed to unzip the sizes of the coat from hip to sleeve, pull the back of the coat over the top of her car seat (she rides rear-facing in a Diono Radian RXT), then pull her arms out of the wrist holes and buckle her car seat straps, and put the top of the coat back down over her torso. This can be done in under a minute with a stuffed-animal model, but it takes longer with a squirming toddler. E didn’t appreciate my taking the coat off of her body but leaving part of it on around her head. The unfortunate truth is that it would have been faster just to take the Cozywoggle off altogether via the front zipper.
On the upside, when we reached our destination, I was delighted with how simple it was to get E back into the coat. I had her reach her arms through the wrist holes (slightly more difficult since the coat was loose), and in two quick downward zips (one on each side), she was warm and cozy, before even getting out of her seat!
I attempted to rate the coat using a five-star system:
Convenience (into car):*
Convenience (out of car):****
I give the Cozywoggle 3.6 stars out of 5. It’s an awesome idea, but it seems like there is some room for improvement in regards to taking the coat off. It’s inconvenient at times, but then again so are car seats, so I’m not giving up. I’m hoping that, like so many other aspects of parenting, it just takes practice and can be done more efficiently with a little experience.
I’ll be sure to update if my opinion of the Cozywoggle changes with further use. It looks like the coat will hold up well over time, but we’ve only had ours a few weeks so it’s hard to say. Care is machine wash, tumble dry, and the exterior wipes clean easily.
In retrospect, I was a bit harsh in awarding only one star for Cozywoggle’s convenience getting into the car. There was certainly a learning curve involved, and over time we did find the coat easier to use. E had always been great at ‘helping’ me get her dressed and undressed, but the side zippers on the Cozywoggle put it in a clothing category all its own. She didn’t know what I was trying to do with her at first, and it was frustrating for both of us. The more we used it, though, the more she accepted that this coat would not be coming all the way off over her head, and she began to pull her hands out of the wrist loops without prompting. I felt like we were really getting the hang of things when spring rolled around, and the Cozywoggle retired to the back of E’s closet. I may pull it out in the fall this year to do a quick refresher course with her, in an effort to avoid any fumbling around in the bitter cold. I’ll let you know how it goes!