(WYTV) – Bitterly cold temperatures are slated to continue to drop throughout the week. While bundling up your kids, parents should remember that it’s better to take off their big, bulky winter coat before buckling them into their car seat. The harness needs to be tight and secure.
“So what happens when we put them in these big, bulky coats, it basically creates too much of a cushion between the straps and the chest clip. So that child could actually move around and it’s not holding them in. So in the event of a car accident when they’re jerked around, while they may seem snug because it’s tight up against that coat, there’s actually way too much room for them to move around,” said Bill McMahon, an injury prevention coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, buckling children in age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats and seat belts reduces the risk of serious and fatal injuries by 71-82% for children, when compared with seat belt use alone. But, it’s estimated that 46% of car seats and booster seats are misused in a way that could reduce their effectiveness.
“Making sure that when you pinch those shoulder straps on those car seats that there’s no material that comes up between your fingers. You want it to be like a nice, snug hug when they’re in there and that chest clip is at the armpit level, just like the manufacturer wants it to be,” McMahon said.
Child safety experts recommend kids wear a light fleece coat in the car with their winter coat draped over their legs. This also helps them from overheating because they won’t be bundled up for a long period of time with the heat running.
Don’t let a winter coat get in the way of properly securing your child in a car seat this winter. For more tips on how to keep kids safe and warm during winter travel, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics‘ website.