Winter is here! The change in season brings cozy hot chocolates, fluffy winter coats, and keeping your little ones safe in their seats. But did you know those big puffy coats may not be the best at keeping your children safe in their car seats during the colder months? Let’s find out why and discuss some important safety tips to consider.
Why Does Car Seat Safety Matter in the Winter?
Those adorable fluffy coats and jackets you bundle your little ones up in could compromise the safety and efficiency of their car seats. The added bulk of winter clothing can prevent the car seat from fitting properly.
Generally, bulky clothing like coats and snowsuits should not be worn underneath the harness of a car seat. If you must loosen the straps to have your child fit in the seat, then whatever they are wearing needs to be removed. Why? In the event of an accident, the extra padding in the clothing can flatten out, causing your child to be too loose in the seat and then be ejected from the car seat.
- Layers: Rather than a bulky coat that could prevent them from safely sitting in their seat, try multiple layers that can be added or taken off as needed with transportation. Having the option to add or remove clothing while traveling can be a great tool to keep them safe during the colder months while keeping them comfortable.
- Double Check Straps: Check the harness straps to ensure they are snug and secure. The harness of the seat should fit comfortably but not too loose.
- Blankets: Keep a blanket in the car for added warmth to keep your child cozy while traveling. Remember – the blanket needs to go OVER the straps, not under.
Managing Your Child’s Car Seat:
One crucial aspect of this is making sure their car seat harness is fitted correctly to your child. Ensure it is fitted to their size and weight. To test out a piece of clothing to determine if it is safe for your child to wear while in the car seat, try these tips:
- If you had to significantly loosen the straps to get your child to fit in the seat, it is likely that the article of clothing is not safe and needs to be removed.
- In other cases, you can try to:
- Put the clothing in question on your child and have them sit in their car seat and buckle them up.
- Check if the harness is tight enough, perform the “pinch test.” Place your fingers by your child’s collarbone and try to pinch the harness strap. If you can gather any extra slack, pull the harness tightening strap until there’s no extra slack.
- Repeat the pinch test to ensure that the harness is now tight enough and secure.
- Remember to check your child’s harness frequently during long car rides to ensure their safety.
3. If your child is in an infant car seat, bring it inside at the end of the day. This will ensure the car seat is warm and ready for your kiddo the next morning.
4. Be wary of products sold in stores that say they will keep your child warm in their car seat. NEVER put something in between your child’s body and the harness straps (besides their normal clothes). Always doublecheck to make sure products you buy have been approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Whether it is snowy or just chilly, we are here to provide the best tips to help keep your whole family safe in cold weather. By following these simple tips, you can help ensure your child is safe and comfortable during the colder months. Don’t let the cold weather compromise your child’s safety – take the necessary precautions to protect them while on the road. We at Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care want your family to stay warm and safe this winter!
Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care opened in 2006 in San Antonio, Texas. With multiple locations in San Antonio and Dallas, they are open seven days a week with extended evening hours and see walk-in patients or through an online check-in system. They accept most commercial insurance and Medicaid plans.