The days are shorter and getting colder. As winter approaches, parents will start the annual practice of bundling their kids in puffy coats when they leave the house. But beware: bulky jackets can reduce the effectiveness of car seats if a crash occurs.
Why You Should Always Remove Your Child’s Coat
It feels wrong to take a child’s coat off when it’s freezing outside, even in the car. But car seat technicians warn that failing to do so could be a deadly mistake.
Puffy coats and multiple layers make it difficult to harness a child securely in the car seat. If a car accident happens, the force of impact will cause the material inside the coat to squish down. What seemed like a tight enough harness when you buckled your child up will be too loose to restrain them well.
Researchers also found that puffy coats and snowsuits can leave up to four inches of slack in the straps, which significantly increases the risk of head and neck injuries.
Technicians recommend that children should be wearing nothing thicker than a sweatshirt when they are riding in a car seat, according to SafeRide4Kids. Yet a 2019 survey from Volvo found that 65 percent of parents do not take off coats before buckling up.
Winter Car Seat Safety Tips
Here are tips for ensuring that your child is safely harnessed before you hit the road:
- Put your child in the car seat with the coat on and fasten the harness. Tighten the straps until you can’t pinch any of the harness webbing between your thumb and index finger.
- Unbuckle and remove your child from the car seat. Take off the coat.
- Place your child in the safety seat and re-fasten the harness, keeping it the same as it was when the coat was on. If you can pinch the webbing between the thumb and forefinger, the coat is too thick.
- Don’t worry. Your child can still ride with warm weather gear. You can supplement them with hats, wrapping them in blankets, or even tucking the coat itself around the child.
Hurt in a Crash? Call an Injury Lawyer at Stewart Law Offices Today
If you or your child was hurt in a car accident in the Carolinas, you could be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party. Call the experienced car accident lawyers at Stewart Law Offices today. With offices in South Carolina and North Carolina, our injury attorneys have been representing clients successfully since 1995. We can help you, too.