Winter coats could cause problems in car seats

(WPRI) — Winter jackets may be important in keeping your children warm, but they may pose a problem when they’re in the car.

  • Susan Hogan joined The Rhode Show Thursday with more on this warning.

Securing your child’s car seat harness over bulky clothing is hard enough, and because the harness ends up very tight – it’s actually a very unsafe fit. Even the most expensive and safe car seats in the world may not protect your child if they’re bundled up too much.

“No matter how much research you’ve done on purchasing a nice, safe seat, if a harness does not fit correctly, it’s not going to provide adequate safety for a child,” said Diana Imondi Dias from AAA Southern New England.

Dias, a traffic safety education specialist, said parents are well-intentioned when they bundle up their babies, but all of that bulk is not safe.

“Unfortunately, if you were ever in a crash, the coat material would compress because of the force of the crash, and that harness would be nowhere near as tight enough to hold that child in safely,” Dias explained.

To get a proper fit of the harness during cold weather:

  • Remove your child’s coat before strapping them into the car seat
  • Put on a lighter jacket, such as a fleece coat, instead
  • Use something that fits over the car seat for added warmth

Once you’ve got your child all buckled in, perform a pinch test, in which none of the material of the harness straps should be pinched between your fingers.

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