Winter Coat and Child Seat Safety Risks
NEVADA – When it’s cold outside, parents probably dress their kids in layers, but experts say parents should think twice before buckling kids in car seats wearing thick coats.
Nellie Martinez, a Child Passenger Safety Instructor at REMSA, said that when a child wears a bulky winter coat, the straps will be tight instead of on the child. This can lead to unsafe gaps and a lack of safety.
“There is a greater chance that the child will get hurt,” she said.
In a crash, the puffiness of the coat can make the car seat harness too loose. Experts say to take the jacket off the child before putting them in the car seat.
Martinez used mannequins to show that “in a crash, we want the child and the car seat to move together.” “If this strap is too loose, the child will be the one to move forward first. This happens a lot. The child, not the car seat, is the one who will feel the impact. So very important that this (harness) fits snugly and that the clip is at armpit level.”
If the coat is too big to fit safely under the harness, you can do one of two things:
1. To keep younger children warm, put a blanket over them.
2. Turn the coat around and put it on backward for a bigger child after securing them in their car seat.
3. Wear a lighter coat (not puffy). Leave the hoodie on if it has one.
Martinez said that there are coats online that say they are safe for car seats, but you need to make sure it has been tested with the type of car seat you have.
Martinez said, “It’s important to take the time to make sure the child is safe in the seat.”
A new law says that children under the age of two must ride in the back seat of a car in a car seat that faces the back.
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