Every Ride. Every Time.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommends children do not wear bulky coats in their car seats. Coats should be removed before children are buckled up for every ride, every time.
Coats and car seats. Every parent knows that both are essential for traveling with children. But studies show that we may inadvertently be putting our little ones in danger by how we buckle them into their seats for winter drives because of something so basic as their coat. Children’s coats tend to be puffy and bulky, and when compressed, are nothing more than air. This air pocket can create too much slack in the safety harness when compressed.
As cooler weather approaches, health officials are reminding parents and caregivers that unintentional injuries caused by a motor vehicle crash is the number one killer of kids in this country. And leaving a coat on a child in a car seat is one of the contributing causes of these kind of unintentional injuries.
With colder weather upon, it seems counter-intuitive to our instincts to remove coats and heavy blankets from small children before putting them in a vehicle. But this simple action could possibly mean the difference between life and death. Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Kathleen Clary-Cooke with Safe Kids Benton-Franklin said that we may be over-reacting to a few minutes of chilly air rather than seeing it as an important safety measure.”With our temperatures, even though it seems really cold outside, in the 5 minutes it takes your car to warm up your child’s not going to get frostbitten. It’s not a serious danger to kids.” But putting your child into a car seat with a jacket on could be fatal. A few minutes of inconvenience is a small price to pay for properly restrained bodies. http://keprtv.com/news/local/coats-and-car-seats-a-dangerous-combination-in-a-crash
The Puffy Coat Check
As a general rule, winter coats should not be worn underneath a car seat harness because that can leave the harness too loose to be effective in a crash. Here’s a simple way to check whether your child’s coat is too big to wear underneath a harness:
- Step 1: Put the coat on your child, sit him or her in the car seat and fasten the harness. Tighten the harness until you can no longer pinch any of the webbing with your thumb and forefinger.
- Step 2: Without loosening the harness at all, unhook it and remove your child from the car seat. Take the coat off, put your child back in the car seat, and buckle the harness straps, which should be adjusted just as they were when the child was wearing the coat.
If you can pinch the webbing between your thumb and forefinger now, then the coat is too bulky to be worn under the harness.
Car Seats Save Lives When Used Properly
Car seats can reduce the risk of a child’s death by as much as 71% when used properly. In conjunction with a seat belt, safety harnesses hold a child safe and snug in their seats. This is vital, especially with the ever-present possibility of a motor vehicle crash every time we drive. If children are not secured properly, they run the risk of being ejected from their seat. This will cause them to be tossed around in the vehicle with the violent forces of inertia. Massive energy and speed from a collision can snap little bodies without any chance to react or brace themselves. Read more on child passenger safety.
Unfortunately, statistics show that three out of four car seats are not installed or used properly. The safety harness should be properly fitted to the child to ensure the best possible protection. Parents often loosen the slack on the harness to accommodate the coat. But remember that puff is really air and creates a gap between the child and the harness. The force from a speeding car hitting a vehicle with improperly secured children can cause them to be ejected. A child’s mass is not heavy to break the windshield. They would literally be thrown at high velocity inside of the vehicle, causing serious harm and even fatal breaks.
Get Checked Out this Winter
Ensure your child is safely secured in your vehicle by visiting a certified child passenger safety technician. Data shows that over 80 percent of children’s car seats are installed or used incorrectly. Come prepared with a sweater or blanket to use for those chilly days in the car, but remember to always take that coat off first, even before driving in sleet and snow. Peace of mind is knowing that your most precious cargo is riding safely!
If you need help finding a location that provides certified child passenger safety checks for car seats in your vehicle, check out this website to find locations nearest you: Get a Car Seat Checked
Here’s a great article to read on choosing which kind of car seats work best for different ages of children.
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If you or someone you know was in an auto accident or personal injury accident, contact Fielding Law Group today, for a free legal consultation. When another motorist acts negligently, we can help you recover and receive the compensation you deserve. Remember–Don’t let an accident wreck YOU!
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