Car Seats and Winter Coats: Are Your Kids Safe?

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If there’s one thing every new parent learns the second their kid is born, it’s how to properly secure them into a vehicle. You can’t even leave the hospital without doing this right and it’s a struggle parents quickly figure out. But what if you’ve been doing it wrong and never knew?

The clothes kids wear from season to season change. Despite the warm weather in much of the country, winter is definitely here and that means hats, mittens, and those bulky winter coats. That last one, the winter coat, is where you may unknowingly be putting your child at serious risk.

The minute kids put on those coats it requires some adjustment to their car seat straps. You simply cannot squish them under straps that were adjusted to hold them in nothing but shirts or light coats. Larger winter coats change the equation and that’s the problem.

Adjusting those straps around a winter coat, even if they’re nice and snug, doesn’t properly secure your child. In the event of an accident, your child could slip out of their coat and their car seat.

According to Autoblog, loosening the straps to accommodate additional clothing is a bad idea. That coat might stay in place, tangled in the straps, but your child can shoot right out as if they weren’t secured at all.

The solution is an easy fix. Take that coat off before you buckle-up. Once your child is secure, then you can drape the coat over them like a blanket or even bring a blanket in the car to tuck around them if that’s more comfortable.

It’s not just kids who are at risk from bulky coats. Yes, the same problem applies to adults and older kids buckled into traditional seat belts without any kind of car seat. All that extra bulk lets bodies slip free during accidents.

This video shows what happens in an accident at only 30 mph. The dummy child is wearing a bulky coat and looks to be properly secured. The video shows how the opposite is true.

It might take a few extra seconds and it might mean being a bit chilly in the transition to their car seats, but it’s worth the inconvenience. This winter, make sure your child is safe in their car seat and ditch the bulky winter coat before you snap those buckles.