Experts warn against kids wearing bulky coats in car seats

Compression of insulating material can put kids in danger during accident

Experts warn against kids wearing bulky coats in car seats
Experts recommend taking off bulky coats before putting kids in car seats

TOLEDO (WTOL) - If you're taking your kids out to the holiday parades and tree lighting ceremonies this weekend, you'll likely be breaking out the winter coats.

“If the harness is not tight enough to begin with, they may even be ejected out of that harness and thrown out of that car seat, which can lead to some very dangerous injuries,” said Gina Veres, an Injury Prevention Specialist with Safe Kids of Greater Toledo.

Veres is talking about what can happen if you put your child in a car seat, wearing a bulky winter coat or snow suit.

“The forces of a crash are so strong, it’s going to compress all that fluff down and then there’s actually going to be a lot of movement that the child can have within those harnesses, which can lead to injuries,” explains Veres.

Veres say a thin coat or a fleece is ok, because the fabric doesn’t compress. If a bulky coat is needed, Veres recommends bundling up the kids to walk from the house to the car and then take the coats off inside the car.

“Buckle them in. Tighten everything up so you can’t pinch any of that harness over their shoulders and then you an put their coats on backwards,” says Veres. You can also cover them with a blanket.

The same goes for infants. Veres says, "Put them in the harness in the car seat while they're still inside and then layer blankets on the top. So when you get the car seat in the car, you can take a layer of a blanket off."

It may feel cumbersome to have to take that coat off and on as your kids go from house to car, so we asked what our Family Focus: Surviving Family Facebook Group parents about what they do to make things more efficient. One of our friends told us she uses a car seat poncho. Veres says they are fine, as long as they don't interfere with the harness and don't pose a suffocation risk.

If you’d like to join the discussion, check out this post on our Family Focus: Surviving Family Facebook Group.

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