The more I learn about car seat safety, the more mistakes I realize I’ve made.
One mistake – and I know other parents have done the same – was loosen car seat straps to accommodate a thick, winter coat.
“Parents should remove their child’s coat before placing them in the car seat,” said Cynthia Fryer of Safe Kids Upstate.
When a child in a seat is wearing a heavy coat, the harness is no longer next to the child’s body.
Instead, the harness is next to the coat, she said.
During a crash, the bulk of the coat compresses, and a gap opens between the child and the straps. The child may slip partially, or completely, through this extra space in the harness, creating potential for injury, Fryer said.
“It is recommended to first harness the child in the seat and lay the coat over the top of the securely-harnessed child like a blanket,” Fryer stated. “After you arrive at your destination, you can put the coat on the child.”