Winter Coats and Car Seat Safety
While it rarely gets cold enough for a winter coat in Florida, there are a few times a year where the temperature drops unseasonably low for the sunshine state. One of these times will happen this weekend. Forget about 80 degree weather in December. This weekend, the lows are expected to be in the high thirties and low forties and the high will not get above 68 degrees. You better believe for Florida natives- this is grounds for a thicker jacket, especially for kids.
We want to remind everybody that before you put your child in their carseat this season, to take off their coat. Any thick jacket or winter coat should not be on a child when they are strapped into a car seat. According to Consumer Reports, “A bulky coat under a child seat harness can result in the harness being too loose to be effective in a crash.” Here is Consumer Reports’ steps to make sure your child’s coat is acceptable to wear while they are strapped in their car seat:
- Put the coat on your child, sit them in the child seat and fasten the straps. Tighten the straps until you can no longer pinch any of the harness webbing with your thumb and forefinger.
- Without loosening the harness, remove your child from the child seat.
- Take the coat off, and put your child back in the child seat and buckle the harness straps, which are still adjusted as they were when he was wearing the coat.
- If you can now pinch the webbing between your thumb and forefinger, then the coat is too bulky to be worn under the harness.
The safest bet is to just take any coat in question off, and drape it over them after they are strapped in. Or, alternatively bring a blanket to do the same thing. If the straps have any extra lag, your child is more susceptible to being ejected from the seat during a crash. This advice even extends to adults. Do not wear bulky coats when driving as it limits range of motion, and prevents you from being strapped in securely. Read more about car seat safety here.