Baby it’s cold out there and we all want to keep our babies warm during these chilly winter months but did you know your child’s warm winter coat can actually be a hazard? While it’s great to put a big puffy jacket on your child to keep them warm outside that same jacket is not a good idea to have on when they are in their car seat. In a car crash, fluffy padding immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space under the harness. A child can then slip through the straps and be thrown from the seat.
Here is a quick safety tip you can do t see if your child’s coat is safe in the car:
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. Or if you can fit more then 2 fingers under the straps, then the coat is too bulky as in the following photo.
If your child’s winter coat is not safe to wear in their car seat try these tips instead:
- For smaller children, put a blanket over them to keep them warm.
- For a bigger child, after securing him or her in the car seat, turn the coat around and put it on backward (with arms through the armholes), so the back of the coat serves as a blanket resting on top of the harness.
- Most newer cars can be started before you get in them. If possible start your car before you get in it to keep it nice and toasty for you and your family
- Consider car seat bundlers