The weather in Ontario, is starting to get colder. Colder weather means warmer clothes, and soon we’ll be in winter coats.
Wearing a winter coat in a car seat is dangerous.
I took photos of Lauren in her car seat to prove my point. I tell parents to do this test so that they can see how dangerous it is to wear a winter coat in a car seat. (Lauren is squinting due to the sun.)
With your child in their winter coat, put them in the car seat and tighten it as tight as you can.
Here is Lauren in her car seat in her winter coat. I pulled the harness as tight as I could get it.
It passes the “Only 1 finger” test. It has to be tight enough, right?
UPDATE: It’s best practice to use the “Pinch Test” to check to see if the harness is tight enough.
Take the child’s coat off but don’t touch the harness
When Lauren takes her coat off, you can see how loose the harness truly is.
In a collision, the force will compress the bulky coat and then the harness will be this loose. As if the coat isn’t there.
Lauren shows how far she can pull the harness out and how far she can lean forward. This is very dangerous in a collision. The harness is to hold the child firmly in the seat to reduce movement during a collision.
In just her sweater, we pull the harness tight. This is safe.
Watch this segment from the Today Show(aired December 14, 2015):
(aired December 14, 2015):
“But my child will be cold going from the house to the car in just a sweater!”
This is the comment I hear most from parents. If you get a 3-in-1 coat that has an inner jacket and an outer shell, you can remove the outer shell before harnessing your child in the car seat.
For a child in an infant seat, you can harness them in the seat and then place a warm blanket over the top before taking them out to the car.
I hope these photos help you understand why a child should NEVER wear a bulky winter coat in their car seat.
How to keep them warm?
Here are some great suggestions from the Car Seat Lady on how to keep your child warm: http://thecarseatlady.com/warmandsafe/
Not all children will be this lucky:
Here is a story of an infant, in a snowsuit, who miraculously survived being throw from their car seat during a collision. They were ejected from the car seat because the harness was too loose.
Please comment below if you have any questions.
I am here to help your child be safe while in a vehicle.