Updated on April 6, 2017
Mouse & Hatter Designs Car Seat Poncho Review
I received this item at no cost in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.
I live here in the Great White North, also known as Canada! That means just one thing: it gets cold in the winter. The beauty of that is that I happen to love the calm and quiet that comes with a fresh snowfall, until I have to go out in it. Now it may come as a surprise to some of you that a born and raised Canadian would dislike schlepping around in the snow, but, to be fair, I’m from Vancouver! That means I’m used to a wet and rainy winter with minimal sub-zero temperatures. I traded in my umbrella for a hefty pair of serious winter boots now that I’m subjected to long, cold, snowy, and icy winters that seem to last for the better part of six months, at least. One of the biggest challenges of winter is carting the kids around when it’s super cold out. Why is that so difficult? First, I want them to be warm enough. Second, I want them to be buckled into their car seats correctly. The two may seem like no big deal, but keeping the kids warm and buckled up safely can be a challenge. Did you know that thick winter coats and snowsuits should never be worn in a car seat? A heavy coat or snowsuit prevents the harness from being tight enough to restrain the child in the event of a collision. If you didn’t know this, I have written about it before, but the short explanation is that the forces of a crash cause the coat or snowsuit to compress leaving enough space in the harness that a child may be partially or fully ejected from their car seat. Scary stuff. What’s a winter ready family to do? Opt for a car seat poncho! Mouse & Hatter Designs makes what just might be the perfect car seat poncho for cold winters. Never heard of a car seat poncho or not sure how it’s supposed to work? Allow me to explain.
Mouse & Hatter Designs is based out of Ottawa, Ontario and is owned and operated by Stefanie, a WAHM of three littles (soon to be four!). Stefanie is all about creating the best for your baby with comfort being a top priority. She makes everything from hybrid fitted cloth diapers and babywearing accessories to children’s clothing and vintage inspired bonnets, and even car seat ponchos! Every item she sells is hand made and she’s always up for custom orders!
What exactly is a car seat poncho? A car seat poncho is a wonderful way to keep your child warm and properly buckled into their car seat through the winter. The idea behind it is that your child can wear the poncho in place of a winter coat for those times when you’re taking them in and out of the car on cold winter days. Unlike a heavy coat, the car seat poncho does not need to be removed before buckling your child into their seat. Instead, the back of the poncho simply lifts up over the back of the car seat so it is not sitting behind your child’s back. That means there’s no added bulk to compress and potentially leave space between the harness and your child. The Mouse & Hatter Designs car seat poncho has everything I’m looking for in a car seat poncho, and some features I never knew I wanted!
Let’s start with the construction of the Mouse & Hatter Designs car seat poncho. As with any WAHM product that crosses my threshold, I check it over to see how well it’s constructed. Let me just say that Mouse & Hatter Designs quality is top notch. It is flawlessly constructed! The stitching is perfect, the snap placement is totally lined up, and the design of it is amazing. The car seat poncho is constructed of two layers of material. The outer layer is made of fleece and the inner layer is made out of your choice of fleece or minky. If you’re not familiar with minky, it’s this super soft material that feels like pure bliss to the touch. The poncho has a hood for keeping your little one’s head and ears warm. The front of the car seat poncho is equipped with a snap closure. There’s also a tab that snaps at the neck of the poncho to keep it on your child even when the front is unsnapped. On each side of the poncho there’s one set of snaps that can be closed to make “sleeves”. The Mouse & Hatter Designs car seat poncho is a sized poncho and is available in nine sizes: 6 months, 12 months, and size 2 through 8.
I have to admit that I had a really hard time choosing which fleece to go with for Petit Prince’s car seat poncho. I’m terrible at making decisions when there’s a lot of options, so it took me quite a while to decide what I wanted! I finally decided that a nice grey fleece with little orange foxes would be perfect. After all, the very first toy I bought for Petit Prince (before he was even born) was a corduroy stuffed fox, so this print seemed fitting. I wanted to go with a minky inner for the car seat poncho. I went this way because I know how incredibly soft minky is, but also because I was worried a double layer of fleece might be too warm once the car is warmed up. If you happen to live somewhere that’s even colder than Calgary (and there are many many places colder than here) then the double layer of fleece would be great!
There are so many great features of the Mouse & Hatter Designs car seat poncho that I don’t even know where to begin! I’ll start with the length. I cannot properly express how thrilled I was when I received Petit Prince’s car seat poncho and it wasn’t ridiculously long. He started walking just over a month ago, and is beginning to gain more confidence on his feet. I want him to be able to walk around outside in his car seat poncho without tripping on it. I know he’s going to want to walk from the car to the school when we pick The Heir up at preschool, so he needs to be able to walk in his car seat poncho. The whole point of a car seat poncho is that you don’t have to take it off, so his being able to walk with it on is crucial!
Another feature I love is that the Mouse & Hatter Designs car seat poncho opens up in the front. When I put Petit Prince in his car seat, I can just unsnap the front of the poncho and actually see what I’m doing with the harness. I don’t need to fold up the front or flip it over his face to get to the harness. I often just leave the front unsnapped after buckling him into his seat. That way he’s covered up and warm, but when the car’s warmed up he can easily push the poncho open if he’s feeling too hot.
The snap together sleeves on the Mouse & Hatter Designs car seat poncho is another great feature. Right now, Petit Prince has no interest in having his hands out of the poncho, but for older toddlers and children it’s really handy. With a quick snap, you can create a cuff/sleeve for your child’s hands to come through. This keep the poncho in place and keeps the child’s hands out. That means it’s easier for them to pick up some snow, hold their lunch kit, or even hold their parent’s hand! It just adds a little touch to make the poncho feel a bit more like a jacket when that’s needed.
The snap and tab closure at the neck is great for keeping the poncho on when the hood is down and the front is unsnapped. Sometimes it’s too warm to have the hood up and the poncho closed. With this closure, the poncho won’t slip off the child’s shoulders, but still adds just the right amount of warmth. I will admit I usually prefer to have the option of a detachable hood, but with the Mouse & Hatter Designs poncho, I don’t mind one bit that the hood doesn’t detach. I don’t find that the hood gets in the way in the car at all, and I can appreciate not having to keep track of two separate pieces when it comes time to put the poncho into storage over the summer. Plus, with the hood attached, I don’t have to worry about it falling out of the car and being left behind somewhere.
Stefanie of Mouse & Hatter Designs has obviously put a lot of thought and care into designing this car seat poncho. It has all the features I have wanted in a car seat poncho, and it’s available in a wide variety of fleece colours and prints. The possibilities are almost endless! You can be sure your child will be warm enough for those super cold weather house to car and car to destination transfers, and the convenience of never having to remove a coat at the car is awesome. It doesn’t interfere with the car seat harness at all, so you can feel confident that your child is warm and safe in their car seat this winter!
Mouse & Hatter Designs car seat ponchos start at $70 CAD, and are available to purchase right from the Mouse & Hatter Designs Facebook page!
How would you like the chance to WIN a car seat poncho for your little one this winter? One lucky reader has the chance to WIN one Mouse & Hatter Designs Car Seat Poncho in their choice of size and fabric! That’s a value of up to $100! Just scroll down to the giveaway and get your entries in for a chance to win. This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents, 18+, and closes on November 21st, 2016. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment. Don’t forget to follow the Gobbling Up The Giveaways “hop” and enter the other awesome giveaways linked up below!
It’s that time of year again! Fall is officially in full swing and the holidays are right around the corner. That means that it’s time for the second annual Gobbling Up the Giveaways giveaway hop hosted by The Anti-June Cleaver and Our Piece of Earth!
We have teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to bring you a lot of fantastic of prizes to kick off the holiday season. After you have entered my giveaway, be sure to visit the linky below for more great prizes.
DISCLOSURE: The Anti-June Cleaver, Our Piece of Earth, and the rest of the bloggers participating in the Gobbling Up the Giveaways giveaway hop are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations. Open to US & Canadian residents, 18 years of age and older. Confirmed winner(s) will be contacted via email and have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Prize fulfillment is the responsibility of the sponsor(s). For questions or to see your product featured on The Monarch Mommy blog contact Stefanie at http://themonarchmommy.com/work-with-me/.