Kids, Car Seats and Winter Coats: What Parents Need to Know

child asleep in a car seat | Car Seats and Winter CoatsParents are constantly required to make choices in order to keep their children safe from dangers in today’s world. Even something that occurs every day, like traveling in a car, can be risky.  From researching the safest and most reliable vehicles on the market, to purchasing a certified and safety tested car seat, to bundling up against the cold winter weather, parents and caregivers have many important decisions to make. One unexpected decision parents don’t always take into consideration has to do with how to keep a child warm without risking their safety in a car. Here’s what all parents should know about kids, car seats and winter coats:

Car Seats and Winter Coats Don’t Mix

A properly installed car seat, appropriate for your child’s age and weight, is essential to transporting your child safely in a vehicle. Just as important to your child’s safety when traveling, though, is whether the clothing they are wearing allows the car seat and harness to protect your child the way it is intended to, in the event of an accident. Bulky winter coats and multiple layers of clothing are necessary to protect your little one from the freezing temperatures of winter, but can create a dangerous situation when those layers come between your child and the straps of their car seat.

Thick layers and bulky winter coats are filled with air, which prevents the car seat straps from fitting snugly against the child’s body like they’re supposed to. In the event of a crash, that extra air will be compressed out, and the extra space between the child’s body and the harness will allow for unwanted movement upon hard braking or impact. This causes the child’s body to bear the repercussions of the force of the crash, rather than the harness straps and the car seat like they’re designed to do.    

Further Reading: What are a DUI Crash Victim’s Rights?                      

What Can Parents Do in Winter?

Rather than strapping your child into their car seat while wearing a thick coat, safety experts advise parents to buckle their children into their car seat without the extra layer on first, and then drape the coat over top of the child like a blanket, and put their arms through the sleeves of the coat to hold it in place. This eliminates the possibility of too much space remaining between the child and the harness, and will allow the car seat to function as intended.

When car seats are properly installed and used correctly, statistics show that they can reduce the risk for injury in the event of an accident by 71-82%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, a 2016 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that improper use occurs in at least 59% of cases involving car seats. A car seat cannot protect your child if it is not installed or used correctly. The best way to keep your child safe while traveling in a vehicle is to use a properly-fitting car seat, certified for their age and weight, and securely buckle them into it every single time you drive.

Contact Our Pueblo Car Accident Lawyers

Pueblo attorney Mickey W. SmithIf you or someone you love is injured in a car accident this winter, we can help. Our Pueblo car accident lawyers can help you obtain the money you need to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. We will negotiate with insurance companies so you don’t have to. Call Pueblo attorney Mickey W. Smith, today for a FREE CONSULTATION – (719) 544-0062.

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