Safety Driving

No bulky coats when buckling up baby

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Photo: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Did you know? Bulky winter clothing such as puffy coats and snowsuits can make your child’s safety seat less effective.

“In a car crash, fluffy padding immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space under the harness,” Healthychildren.org warns. “A child can then slip through the straps and be thrown from the seat.”

Help keep your child warm and safe while riding in a car seat this winter by following these tips:
Layer up. Dress your child in close-fitting clothing such as leggings or long-sleeved bodysuits. (Consider long underwear in extremely cold weather.) Then, add pants and a warmer top, such as a sweater. A thin jacket is OK. Don’t forget hats, mittens, and socks or booties.
Check that car seat straps are properly tightened. If you can pinch the straps, they aren’t snug enough.
Put blankets or jackets over the car seat harness. Once your child is safely buckled in, it’s OK to add a blanket or jacket over the buckled straps.
Be cautious with car seat covers. “Use a car seat cover only if it doesn’t have a layer under the baby,” Healthychildren.org says. “Nothing should ever go underneath your child’s body or between her body and the harness straps.” In addition, leave your baby’s face uncovered to protect against trapped air.

Another great tip: Keep the baby carrier inside the house so your child doesn’t lose body heat to a cold seat.

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