Winter coats posing dangers to children in car seats - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Winter coats posing dangers to children in car seats

Source:KFDA Source:KFDA

Parents around the country fasten their child into a car seat for safety.

But bundling them up for the cold with a large jacket, may actually get in the way of that safety.  

It's second nature for many parents to strap their children into car seats and make sure they are secure. But now that temperatures are colder, officials are urging parents not to strap kids in with large jackets on. This poses a hazard, as thicker clothing does not allow the straps to tighten to the child's chest, creating too much space.

"What happens is that the force of the crash will compress the air out of that puffy jacket, leaving about 4 inches of slack," says TxDOT Traffic Specialist Leviza Matthews. "So your baby can actually be ejected from that car seat."

"In this part of the country, we've got some pretty cold winters and people will do that," says AFD Captain Larry Davis. "They'll bundle those kids up in a really thick coat and then try to strap them in. A lot of the time they just loosen those straps to where the kid will fit and that's just really not a good scenario."

But officials aren't asking you to have a cold child over a safe one, as they say warmth is also important. The best advice...put the child in a car seat without the coat, and lay the jacket or a blanket over them for warmth.

"You can warm your car up first, you know in most circumstances that's always going to be the best thing," says Matthews. "And putting your baby in layers...thin layers of clothing."

It seems simple, but it's a rule many parents may still not be aware of. For that reason, both AFD and TxDOT say they will issue a reminder every winter, if it means protecting a child's life.

"Whenever it's cold like this, a lot of the times the road conditions are bad and so you're at an increased chance of having a car wreck and we see a lot of little ones that aren't strapped in properly, that get jerked around and get hurt and get hurt seriously and we just really want everyone to avoid that," says Davis. "Take care of your little ones."

If you are interested in a free inspection or lesson on properly securing your child in a car seat, you can make an appointment at 806-400-2982.

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