Car Seat Warning: Winter coat could put your child at risk

LUBBOCK, TX - It's no question, we've seen some cold temperatures this winter.

But, what you may not know is that children and especially babies can lose heat up to four times faster than you. The obvious fix, a winter coat.

But, that winter coat could put them in a different kind of danger while in the car.

"What we found with winter coats is that because of the material, the slickness of it and because of the fluffiness of it actually lifts the straps further away from the child," explained Alison Chapa a child passenger safety technician and occupational therapist.

So while they look safe, once that coat comes off there is at least an inch of slack in the strap.

“This much play in the belt can lead to possible head or neck trauma. The child can go up and down in the seat, they risk ejection from the car seat....a number of things can go wrong," said Chapa.

So what should you do?

Chapa explained, “Our car would already be warmed up and running and once the child is inside we take off the coat.”

That's right, even when it's cold, take off the coat. Then you can put your child in their chair, tighten the straps and make sure their chest harness is at armpit level. That way your child is as safe as possible.

Then comes the warmth.

"Now we worry about the warmth and so this is where we can put their jacket on in the backwards position.  Or we can use a blanket, I usually just keep a blanket in the car," said Chapa.

And if you're worried about their warmth, remember gloves and hats can make a big difference.

But, no matter how much they fight it Chapa said spend the extra time and make sure your child is safe in their seat.

A couple more tips Chapa said the same rules apply to infant carriers. And as far as a child in a booster seat Chapa explained it's better to be safe than sorry.

Even thought they're older they still aren't as big as an adult. Which means the seat belt may slip off their shoulder in an accident.


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