Winter is here, and we are all bundling up to stay warm. Puffy, down, or down-alternative coats are among the top choices to ward off the cold, especially when there is snow on the ground. Safety experts, however, told the Bucks County Courier Times that children should never wear winter coats in car seats as they can lead to a dangerous or even deadly situation.
Why is wearing a coat in a car seat dangerous for my child?
Any extra space under a car seat harness would allow your child to bounce around in a crash and sustain head, neck, back, or internal injuries. If the harness is loose enough, the force of the accident can even eject a child from the seat. The harness should be tight enough that you cannot pinch the straps with your fingers while buckled.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends removing all coats and bulky clothing before buckling your children in.
If you are not sure if the coat is too bulky, you can put your child in the seat with their coat on and tighten the straps. Then remove the child (without loosening the harness), take off the coat, and buckle them back into the seat. If you can pinch the harness straps, the coat is too bulky to wear in the car seat.
It is important to note that this warning includes snow suits and foot muffs, in addition to bulky winter coats.
How can I keep my child warm if s/he is not wearing a coat?
The Huffington Post offers a number of suggestions for keeping your babies and toddlers warm without keeping them in a coat in the car. This includes:
- Dressing your child in thin layers, including a lightweight coat or sweater
- Laying a blanket over your child once s/he is in the seat harness
- Putting your child’s coat on them backward, over the buckled seat harness
There are also purpose-made car seat ponchos made of fleece or other warm materials that can help keep your child warm in the car. These ponchos are thin enough to fit behind your child, preventing babies and toddlers from dropping them on the floor.
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At Cordisco & Saile, LLC, we hope you never face car accident injuries. But if you do, we are here to help you recover from a serious Bucks County, Philadelphia, or New Jersey crash. If a careless driver caused you or your child to suffer serious car accident injuries, you need legal advice and guidance to get the compensation you need and deserve to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.