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Mom’s Innovative Car Seat Coats for Kids Make Winter Rides Safer and Happier

BY E. S. Armstrong TIMEApril 3, 2022 PRINT

Dahlia Rizk, 47, mother of three from New Hampshire and inventor of Buckle Me Baby Coats, just might have made your winter car ride a little bit easier—and a lot safer for children.

When Rizk’s oldest child was 5 years old, she attended a child passenger safety check and, to her surprise, a technician informed her that it was dangerous for children to wear puffy winter coats under their car seat harnesses. Skeptical at first, Rizk set off to do her own research.

“When you have a child in the car seat, they have their harness on. Their harness should be right on the chest and shoulders, because in a crash when everything is thrown forward, the harness and your child’s body, they travel together, and the harness slows the child’s body down,” she said.

However, when the child has a puffy coat between the harness and their body, the effectiveness of the harness is thwarted. Instead of the harness—which stretches slightly—and the child moving forward together at high velocity, the child speeds forward through the distance of the coat’s padding and then slams into the harness, resulting in the impact that can cause critical back, neck, and spinal injuries.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Dahlia Rizk)

The Innovation

After learning all of the risks over 18 years ago, Rizk started taking her daughter’s coat off to buckle her in the car, but always found it to be a struggle. Then, one day she had the idea to redesign children’s coats so that a harness could be buckled properly without their winter coats coming off.

“This was a long time before Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and I had no way to tell parents directly,” Rizk said.

When she tried to find manufacturers to produce her coats, Rizk was met with apathy. “Nobody thought it was a problem,” she recalled. With no one willing to manufacture her product, the mother shelved her ideas and focused on raising her three children.

Then, in 2017, Rizk witnessed a mom struggling with her child’s jacket and she thought she would try again. With no factory lined up and no pattern established, the aspiring mother posted her first video on social media. She had only a sample of her idea, which she demonstrated using her nephew as a model. In response to the video, she said, “people went crazy.”

She set up a Kickstarter campaign to receive orders while she scrambled to find a factory to make her coats. “It was all really very fast,” Rizk recalls. Since then, demand for Buckle Me Baby Coats has been nonstop.

So, why are they so great?

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Dahlia Rizk)

Most coats buckle or zip straight down the middle. Rizk’s Buckle Me Baby Coat opens along the side and shoulder seams, which are set further back on the shoulders than in regular coats. This allows a front panel to be unzipped and opened, and the car seat harness to sit right on the shoulders and chest where it is most effective. Additionally, the back of the coat is thinner than the padding on the front, which allows for car seat harness settings to remain the same—with or without a heavy winter coat.

Now, kiddos can wear their comfy Buckle Me Baby Coat to the car, keeping them warm and toasty. Then, once a child is seated in a car seat, the coat’s front panel can be opened and the harness buckled properly. No more shivering children on the way to the car; no more struggles to remove coats once kids are seated inside.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Dahlia Rizk)

So far, parents have loved the results. Rizk hears comments akin to “this has made my life so much easier,” “they’re so cute,” and “this has taken away all of my worries.”

Just recently, Rizk received a message from a thankful customer, which reads: “Hi. I wanted to reach out and thank you directly for making such amazing coats. We were hit by a semi-truck. Between the amazing safety of his click car seat and him being safely buckled in his seat, with his Buckle Me Baby coat, my son walked away from this horrible crash with only minor injuries. It also kept him super warm in the cold while we waited for first responders, and I can’t thank you enough.”

“These are the stories I remember,” said Rizk. “It’s a very big blessing to be able to help people.”

A Growing Business

What started as a concerned mother’s small business with zero funding has now grown exponentially, and growth shows no sign of stopping. Early in her endeavor, Rizk built her own website, ran her own ads, and made her own videos in order to save money to make the coats. She thought the business would be a “fun little weekend side hobby.”

“The first year, four years ago, I was shipping everything out of my kitchen. I was maybe selling 10 coats a day, and I thought that was so cool and crazy,” she said.

Now, Rizk ships the coats to stores all over the world, including to Germany, Canada, Brazil, and the United States. Buckle Me Baby Coats can be found at Bye Bye Baby, Walmart, West Coast Kids, Snuggle Bugs, on Amazon, and at a number of small retailers.

“It’s grown more than I could have ever imagined,” said Rizk, who hopes to see her business reach other countries in the future.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Dahlia Rizk)

Fulfilling Her Mission

The dedicated mother, inventor, designer, and CEO says that she truly wants parents to have one less thing to worry about.

“I just know that parenthood is hard,” said Rizk. “We’re working or we’re staying home with the children and there are so many things to juggle. I don’t think that moms also should have to worry about their child’s winter coat.”

With a solution ready for parents, Rizk is finding that many still don’t know that winter coats in the car seat are dangerous. A lot of her work is to communicate the essential reasons why her product is so important. “One of the biggest challenges is that it’s a brand-new product that nobody’s ever heard of, so there’s a lot of explaining that’s involved,” she said.

Buckle Me Baby Coats come in sizes that range from zero months to 12 years. While age 12 might sound a little old for a car seat, many parents with children in wheelchairs find the coats helpful for older children.

Aware of many children who don’t have warm coats, or whose parents can’t afford winter coats, Rizk offers a “trade-up program” at Buckle Me Baby Coats. Parents in the United States can send back their gently used coats and they will receive a $15 credit toward a new coat, she says. The used coats are then given to children in need.

“My mission has always been just to make winter car seat safety easier for parents,” she said.

Being the thoughtful parent and good Samaritan she is, Rizk is fulfilling her mission—and much, much more.

(Courtesy of Dahlia Rizk)

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E.S. Armstrong is a writer with degrees in social sciences and linguistics. She writes human interest and inspiring stories that highlight hope, faith, resilience, and true grit.
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