If you are like most parents or grandparents – you probably bundle up your little ones when the weather turns cold, before you secure them in their car seat.
One would think that is a “best practice” – right?
Investigators at NBC just released the results of a test looking at just how safe children dressed in winter coats and belted into their car seats really are in a car accident. The results are disturbing.
It turns out that loosening the straps of a children’s car seat to accommodate a bulkier coat makes it much more likely your child will come tumbling out of both their car seat and their coat in a car crash.
So what are the options?
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests dressing your child in thinner layers and tucking a coat or a blanket around the child over the buckled harness straps if needed.
And don’t forget to safely install the car seat itself. In one recent study it was found that 46% of parents install these seats incorrectly. Here are some very important safety tips to consider – courtesy of DMV.org:
The main types of infant car seats include:
- Rear-facing seats, which are required for all children up to 12 months old
- Convertible car seats, which are designed to be modified as your child grows and may include more gadgets and straps that aid with restraint.
When installing a car seat:
- Place it in the back seat.
- Ensure the seatbelt straps/tethers are tight. You should not be able to move any strap, harness, or the entire seat itself more than an inch.
- Make sure there are no twists in the seat belt straps.
- Make sure the base of the car seat is at the correct recline angle. Many car seats come with a built-in adjuster or angle indicator.
- If you have a vehicle manufactured prior to 1997, you may need to use a locking clip, which:
- Is used to create a fixed length of webbing on a lap/shoulder belt when there is no other way to lock the belt.
- Must be positioned within 1 inch from the latch plate.
- If your car seat came with a base, the carrier handle should be out of the way when the car seat is attached. Read your car seat’s instructions.
Safety restraints are a vital element for keeping family members safe in the event of a car accident. Use them always – and use them properly. And have a safe trip!