WV moms combat bulky coats with innovative outerwear: Babycapes
No responsible parent would ever knowingly put their child in harm’s way while traveling in a vehicle, but this winter, many parents will do just that merely by dressing their children for cold weather.
Martinsburg, WV, mom, Elizabeth Hostler, was shocked to learn that she was putting her daughter, Andy, at risk every time she put her into her infant seat.
“You want your child to be warm and comfortable, but, most importantly, you want them to be safe,” said Hostler, who also has a seven-year-old son. “Every time I went to put Andy in her car seat during the winter it turned into a battle. She hated being confined to her seat in a heavy coat. When the car warmed up, Andy would just wail because she was so uncomfortable and helpless to do anything about it. What I didn’t realize was that she also was not safe.”
Hostler had read an article that children fastened into car seats over bulky garments could be at risk in a crash as the force of a collision could cause the coat to compress and actually eject the child from the seat.
The non-profit organization Car-Safety.org generally does not recommend a child wear a winter coat while in the car seat, since the car seat harness straps must remain tight on the child’s shoulders regardless of any clothing.
“I thought there had to be a better, safer way to travel with my children,” said Hostler.
With limited sewing skills, Hostler immediately began constructing a garment out of a fleece blanket. The goal was to provide protection from the cold, while keeping Andy comfortable and safe while strapped into her car seat or stroller.
The garment she created was much easier to put on and take off. Putting Andy in her car seat also became much easier, as Hostler could flip the garment to the side, adjust the straps and then drape the garment over the car seat. If Andy became too hot, Hostler could easily lift the garment off. Hostler also realized that Andy was more secure in her car seat since there was no bulky barrier between her and the harness straps.
Every place Hostler went with Andy and her “cape” people commented on the ingenuity of the garment, including Suzi Crowder, mother of three and owner of Suzi Homemaker Custom Embroidery, whose youngest daughter, Carly, is just a few weeks older than Andy. Crowder encouraged Hostler to obtain a patent for the garment. The two joined forces and together made several practical and innovative modifications, including a clever back opening and interior foot pocket, and that is how Babycapes began.
Babycapes are simple to put on or take off, even while holding a squirming child.
From your arms to the car, there is no need to remove Babycapes. In the car, babies can move freely. When the car warms up, Babycapes can be removed or replaced without unstrapping the child.
When you arrive at your destination, easily remove the child from her seat and place in stroller. The front cozy feature works as a bunting to cover up and protect wiggly toes. And Babycapes innovative design is great for babies in front carriers as well.
One size fits newborns to preschoolers. Babycapes are available in a variety of luxurious, machine-washable fabrics to suit all climates.