Car seat safety in the winter

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– You want your kids to be warm in the car but did you know keeping them in their winter coats, in a car seat, essentially takes away the protection of a snug harness?

Belinda York is a mom of three, and she’s learned a lot.

“In 2002 we had that same issue, putting her in heavy coats not knowing,” York said. “Even though you think it’s as tight as it is, it’s not. There’s still a huge gap that you don’t know is there.”

“The coat acts as a buffer or barrier between the harness and their body and that coat can compress so if they are in an accident it compresses, then the harness is actually loose fitting,” KSNT Doctor On Call Dr. Tim Borchers said.

Dr. Borchers said to take your kids’ coat off before even putting them in the car seat and use other things to keep them warm.

That’s now why York never lets her 2-year-old leave the house without his blanket.

She said with her other kids, it didn’t even cross her mind.

“Here about 13 years later, in 2017, technology has changed and showed us it’s not safe,” York said.

Now she always double-checks to make sure he’s in his car seat tight.

If you want to know if your child’s jacket is too big for the car seat, here’s how:

  • Put your kid in their car seat with their jacket on
  • Harness them in the car seat with it on
  • Unstrap the harness and take their coat off
  • Strap the harness back and if you can pinch extra room between the harness and your kid’s body, the coat is too big

Dr. Borchers said to dress your child in layers so you can take off their jacket in the car.

He also said once your child is strapped into their car seat, you can put their jacket on backwards to keep warm.

Watch a simulator of a child in a winter coat in a car seat during an accident here.

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