It’s cold outside so naturally you want your children dressed appropriately for the weather. However, experts recommend that you leave off the heavy coats or any clothes that add extra bulk between their small bodies and the straps of car seats and booster seats. The extra space is compressible which means their bodies could thrust forward into the straps, potentially being thrown out of the car, in the event of a car crash.
Instead of dressing your children warmly for the car, dress them as you would if they were indoors before you buckle them up. To make sure they stay warm, you can warm the car before bringing them out in the cold, throw the coat over them once they are buckled or tuck a blanket around them. Be sure that there is nothing between their back and the straps.
Other tips for winter vehicle safety include:
Conduct the “Pinch Test” with your car seat straps: With your thumb and your index finger, pinch the harness near the child’s collar bone. If you are unable to pinch any excess fabric when you pinch the strap, the harness is considered snug enough.
Dress your children in thin layers; no riding in snow suits or puffy coats.
NEVER leave children in the car alone for any length of time.
Never warm up a car in an enclosed space such as your garage due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Before warming up your car, check to ensure that the tailpipe is not clogged letting carbon monoxide leak in.
Before backing up, be sure your rearview cameras are clear, and double check to make sure children are not behind you.
If you have a keyless ignition, be sure to check that the vehicle is turned off so that it does not continue to run with the potential of exposing your home to carbon monoxide.
Teach your children to never play in or around a vehicle.
Ensure that your vehicle is locked so children can’t play inside.
Keep a “winter safety package” in your car: ice scraper, blankets, extra gloves and hats, flashlight, water, snacks, supplies for your child, and a first aid kit.