children polo This is why you should never put a child wearing a coat in a car seat
Removing a child’s winter coat before buckling them in a car seat is an inconvenience that could save their life, experts say.
Laura Dunn with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said harnesses are just too loose when children wearing a winter coat.
“When you have a child in a bulkier, heavy coat, you are not going to be able to harness them as snuggly as you should,” said Dunn, a child passenger safety technician instructor. “In the event of a crash, if there is a risk of ejection.”
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So, while children in coats might appear secure, their car seat harness isn’t actually tight enough to keep them in their seat during a sudden stop or collision. Crash test lab video aired on Today last winter showed a child dummy wearing a puffy coat flying out of a car seat in a simulated 30 mph crash.
Parents or caregivers unsure if their child’s coat is too bulky can test its safety by harnessing the child wearing the coat in the car seat. Then, without adjusting the harness,
take the child out of the carseat, remove the coat, harness them back in the seat and see if the harness is still snug. If it is safely snug (you cannot pinch any extra material at the shoulder), the coat is safe. If not, it’s too bulky and unsafe.
Generally, a sweatshirt is not a risk. Dunn, also a mom, said she dresses her daughter in a light fleece jacket.
In cold temperatures, heavy coats and blankets should be placed over children after they’ve been harnessed in the carseat. Also, children should wear hats, gloves, socks and shoes or booties,
the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.