Bulky winter coats are a great way to bundle up your little ones against the chill of the season, but they should not be worn while your child is in a car seat. Consumer Reports conducted a study to determine how thick coats and jackets on infants and children can put them in unexpected danger while in a car seat. They found that most winter coats are simply too padded to allow the harness of the car seat to safely tighten and secure the baby. In the event of the crash, the looseness of the harness would allow the baby to shake around more, possibly sustaining additional injuries.
To determine if your child’s winter coat is safe for wearing in a car seat, follow these simple steps:
- Strap your child into the car seat while they are wearing the coat.
- Tighten harnesses to what you consider to be safe.
- Remove your child from the car seat while not changing harness tightness.
- Remove the winter coat and put your child back in the car seat.
- Check for looseness without adjusting the harness.
There are two telltale signs of a harness that is too loose for safety:
- If you can pinch the harness strap between your thumb and forefinger, it is too loose.
- If the chest clip is not at armpit level, it is too loose.
If you are worried that the outside chill will get into your vehicle and make your child uncomfortable, you can always simply lay a blanket over them after you have strapped them into the car seat without their winter coat. There is no evidence to suggest that the blanket can cause any harm, and may even provide additional padding in a car accident. If your child is older, wearing their coat “backwards” after being strapped in is also an option.
Remember: Do not strap your child into their car seat while they are wearing a winter coat unless you have verified first that it does not loosen the harness.
For more information about car seat safety, be sure to check out Consumer Report’s full article here. For help filing a car accident claim after you or your child were hurt in a collision, call 203.663.3695 to connect with the Law Offices of Brian J. Mongelluzzo and request a free case evaluation. Our Waterbury personal injury attorneys can construct a case unique to your situation, enabling you to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.