Did you know that the rules for car seat safety change with the seasons? I didn’t… until an article popped up on my Local Mom’s Group that caught my eye. “Warning for Parents: Why bulky winter coats and car seats don’t mix” opened my eyes to the dangers of putting your child in a car seat while wearing a winter coat. With the temperatures starting to drop overnight, I’ve started looking for warmer clothes and jackets for Annabelle to wear on our morning commute to baby school.
Car Seat Safety for the Winter
Safety Tip: BABIES AND TODDLERS SHOULD NEVER FACE FORWARD IN THEIR CAR SEAT.
After reading this article I’ve learned that if her coat, or even clothes, are too bulky, my little Princess pants could be in danger. With a bulky jacket, there will be too much space between the harness and your child’s chest. Extra slack in the harness can be very dangerous. If you get into an accident, your poor little baby will be jostled around and not protected.
Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, medical director of the Tom Sargent Safety Center at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon knows his stuff. He says that when teaching technicians how to safely install car seats, they use a fairly straightforward trick. With your thumb and your index finger, pinch the harness near the child’s collar bone. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing when you pinch the strap, the harness is considered snug enough. 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.
Safety tip: Always remember to make sure the chest clips are at armpit level and the straps are not twisted.
Remove your child’s bulky jackets once you are in the car. Then buckle in your baby. YES this takes time… and if your baby is like Annabelle, she may throw a fit. But when it comes to safety, tears and time mean nothing.
If you are worried about your child being cold in the backseat, here are some things you can do:
- warm your car up a bit before getting in
- dress your child in a thin fleece jacket as an extra layer for warmth
- always leave a blanket in your backseat – cover your baby with the blanket
- once your child is in the seat, put their jacket on backwards
- when you’ve arrived at your destination, take your child out of the car seat first, and then put the jacket back on him/her