Well its officially winter in MN and its cold! Snow on the ground and the kids are back in winter gear. While I was shopping online for some new coats for my kids (a little late I realize) I came across a lot of car seat safety blogs and articles regarding children's coats being a possible risk factor in a car accident. This baffled me! I had never heard a word of this ever! So while I couldn't find a great news story video that covered this. I wanted to give our fans some tips in hopes they can rest assured this winter that their babies will be safe!
According to Safer Car.gov "Bulky clothing or blankets can prevent a snug harness fit. Always buckle the baby in the seat first, and then place coats or blankets over the harness." The reasoning behind this is; When you secure the seat belt over their coat or snowsuit it creates a "bubble" between your baby and the seat belt strap, if in an accident that "bubble" will be compressed and therefore creating excess slack in the seat belt allowing the child room to fly out of the car seat.
Here is a visual example of this problem:
|See how without the coat there is too much slack? In the event of an accident that puffy coat would compress down to the size of their shirt.|
Prevention: How to Test This at Home:
- Try putting your child in there car seat with their coat on, bring the chest clip up to collar bone and try to pinch the strap ABOVE the chest clip. If you can pinch the strap fabric at all then the strap needs to be pulled tighter at the base. (This is called the pinch test and it is one of the top five things to keep in mind when you do a car seat checkup, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.)
- Once the strap is tight to the point you aren't able to pinch any material. Now take off the seat belt and take off your child's coat or snowsuit and put them back in the car seat.
- Buckle them back in the seat and compare by performing the pinch test again. If there is any more slack than before when you performed the test, you will know that that coat is not suitable to be worn beneath the seat belt.
Here is good video demonstrating how to do the test. http://youtu.be/LRKi8nUlM4U
So what are your options for keeping your child warm in the car?
There are a few options that you can either buy or make. But the easiest thing if you don't want to buy anything is to just buckle them up then put a blanket over them. Note: This doesn’t just apply to young infants; children in booster seats should follow the same rules.
Use their current jacket but zip it up over the seat belt (if possible)
|A shower cap style infant seat cover.|
|A car seat poncho|
You could also put their coat on backwards like a snuggie after you have secured their seat belt.