Car Seat Safety in WinterJanuary 2, 2019
Keeping children warm during the winter months is a major safety concern for parents. However, while bundling children up is a good way to protect them from the elements, it also poses a hazard when it comes to car seats. Many parents who are unaware of the risks mistakenly keep their children in bulky coats when strapping them into car seats. This can lead to catastrophic consequences if the child is involved in a car accident, according to Consumer Reports.
A manager at the Rainbow Injury Prevention Center at University Hospitals recommends never strapping children into car seats with puffy coats. The air pockets in those types of coats can cause neck and spine injuries if the child is in a car accident. She also warns against using car seat covers with a layer that fits underneath the child; this creates a dangerous gap between the baby and the car seat, which can lead to serious injuries in the event of a car accident.
Car Seat Safety Tips
It is important to ensure that the child is safely strapped into those car seats, especially during colder weather. If a child is dressed in a bulky coat, there is extra room between the child and the car seat harness straps. This can cause the child’s head to ride up, possibly leading to a serious head injury in the event of a frontal crash.
Recommendations for keeping children both safe and warm in the car during the winter season include:
- Dressing children in light jackets or sweatshirts rather than puffy or overly bulky coats
- Making sure that the car seat harness is tight enough; there should be no slack in the harness straps and you should not be able to pinch any fabric on the straps
- Chest clips should always be at armpit level
- When strapping babies in, first secure the child in the seat and then place a blanket over the harness
- Older children can wear their coat over their harness after being strapped into the car seat
Experts recommend dressing children in thin, close-fitting layers, such as onesies and fleece jackets. Parents can put bulky jackets on their children before leaving the house, but the jackets should be removed before buckling them into their car seats. A jacket can be placed over the child once he or she is strapped in and the car seat harnesses are secure.
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