Are you compromising your children’s safety by keeping them warm?

1st for Women took a closer look at the link between car seats, winter jackets and your child’s safety. Photo: Pixabay. For illustrative purposes.

You wouldn’t wear a size 36 pair of jeans if you were a size 32, right? When you put your child in car seat wearing a bulky, winter jacket, you’re essentially doing the same thing – but with potentially dire consequences, according to 1st for Women.

In commemoration of National Child Protection Week, they took a closer look at the link between car seats, winter jackets and your child’s safety.

“Bulky jackets create the illusion that your children are safely buckled into their car seats, when in fact the opposite is true. If you tighten your child’s harness around a thick jacket, during an accident that jacket will compress, loosening the harness, and leading to an increased risk of injury,” explained Casey Rousseau, 1st for Women Insurance’s spokesperson.

According to Casey, the problem with a thick jacket is that the harness may appear to be tight on the child when in fact, there’s too much space created by the soft fabric between the jacket and the child.

Taking this into consideration, your children should be dressed only in clothes that they would wear inside your house when you buckle them into their car seats. This way the harness can be fastened securely and be as snug as possible. Avoiding extra slack in the harness applies to children in booster seats as well.

Casey said the pinch test is a simple way to test this theory:

• Step 1: Keep the big winter jacket on and harness your child into his car seat. Tighten the harness as you normally would for travel.

• Step 2: Unbuckle the harness, and without loosening it, take your child out of the car seat.

• Step 3: Take the child’s jacket off, and place her back in the car seat – buckling the harness once more, and checking it for tightness.

When buckled, you should not be able to pinch the webbing at the shoulder. When the harness is snug, your fingers should just slide off the harness as you try to pinch it together. Chances are you will need to tighten the harness again after taking the child’s jacket off, to get it snug enough to properly fit your child.

Put your child’s safety first and keep them warm with these useful dos and don’ts:

• Do check their clothes before buckling up and make sure they’re wearing no more than they would be indoors.

• Do ensure that your child is snug in the car seat.

• Don’t forget the pinch test to check for tightness.

• Do use the jacket as a blanket. Turn the jacket back-to-front, and put it on with your child’s arms through the sleeves.

• Don’t place anything underneath your child in the car seat – or between your child and the harness.

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  AUTHOR
Clinton Botha
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