Winter Car Seat Safety TipsEmily McClements
The cold weather is upon us in many parts of the country, and that provides a new challenge when it comes to dressing our children warmly while still keeping them safe in their car seats.
It’s important to make sure that even when the temperatures are dipping below freezing that you take the time to make sure your little ones are safe and snug while traveling in the car.
Here are tips for keeping your child safe in their car seats this winter:
The most important thing to remember during the winter months is not to put babies or children in their car seats with their heavy winter jackets/snow suits on.
The problem with heavy jackets and car seats is that the jacket gets in the way of allowing the buckle to be pulled tight enough to protect your child.
Here’s a simple test you can do to see if your child’s coat is too thick to be worn safely in their car seat:
Put your child’s coat on and buckle them into their car seat. Pull the buckle as tight as you can and is comfortable for your child. Do the pinch test to make sure you can’t pinch any of the harness on the child’s shoulders.
Then, without changing the tension of the car seat straps, take your child out, remove their coat and put them back in the car seat without their coat on. Buckle them in and see how loose the buckle is. Do the pinch test again. If you can pinch some of the harness at your child’s shoulders then the straps are too loose. You may be surprised that you can fit your whole arm between your child and their buckle!
To keep your child safe, you’ll want to put them in their car seat without their heavy coat on, and use other methods to keep them warm.
- Put their coat on backwards once they are buckled into their seat.
- Cover them with a blanket, wrap it around their bodies and legs and tuck it into the sides of the car seat.
- Make sure your child wears a warm hat and gloves, which won’t have an effect on the tightness of the buckle.
- If you have a baby in a rear-facing car seat with a handle you can use a car seat cover that attaches to the handle to protect them from the elements while you’re transporting them from inside to the car.
It’s also important to make sure you travel with extra blankets in your car during the winter in case your heat should stop working, or you get stranded and have to wait in the cold for help.
Keeping your child safe and warm in their car seat during the winter may take a little extra thought and creativity, but making sure they are safely buckled into their car seats should always be the priority!
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