As temperatures start to drop and parents start bundling up their little ones to keep them warm this winter, it's important to know that car seats and puffy coats don't always mix. Although it might seem intuitive to bundle up your child to go outside and then strap them into the car seat, experts are warning parents to do otherwise due to safety concerns.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that large, puffy winter coats can leave too much slack under the seat's harness. it might feel snug when you're snapping them in, but there's a gap between the harness and your child's body. The puffier the coat, the higher the risk.
In the event of an accident, this gap can leave your child vulnerable as the coat compresses and the loose safety restraints fail to do their job properly. Normally when you do a pinch test, you shouldn't be able to grab hold of the strap's webbing.
In the video below, you see an expert double-check the slack between the baby and the harness with and without the coat - and the difference is startling. If you try this experiment for yourself, you'll be surprised by how much room there is for your child to potentially slip out and/or suffer strap-related injuries.
Naturally, however, you're probably still concerned about how to keep your child warm back there if they can't wear their coat in the car seat. Here are a few suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Warm up the car first and dress your child in thin layers, possibly with a flannel coat. Bring the heavier coat to wear upon exiting the car.
- Invest in an upgraded car seat that's specifically built to accommodate coats.
- Place the heavy coat over the child like a blanket.
- Put the coat on backward (almost like a Snuggie) after harnessing the child into the seat.
- Keep emergency blankets and winter clothes in the car.
H/T: Tip Hero