Unfortunately rescue workers report seeing empty coats strapped safely into baby car seats. The impact of a crash can cause a child to “fly” out of the coat. The fact that bulky winter coats can sabotage your child’s security in a car is a well known fact that is often included as a warning in most manufacturers’ manuals.
Whenever possible, it is best to not have your child wear a coat at all once they are placed in their seat. However coats are a necessary evil in frigid weather. To see if your child’s coat is too bulky place your child in a coat and then put them in their seat and tighten the straps as you normally would. Then without loosening the harness straps take your child out of the seat and remove the coat. Put the child back in the seat and then look at the great gap between your child’s body and the straps.
One trick is to take your child’s coat right off, put them in the baby seat and tighten the harness and then put the coat on your child backwards. Parents can also keep extra blankets in the car to cover the entire seat with the child so they don’t get cold. With blankets you also have the option of simply removing or replacing them with the change of interior temperatures. Children in large coats can sometimes become too warm and start sweating, and if taken into cold temperatures immediately it increases the chance of becoming sick.
Some children’s stores actually make a specialty item called a car seat bunting bag specifically to help you avoid using extra layers on a child in a car seat. If you are planning to use the bunting bag make sure you familiarize yourself with the car seat harness and remember to adjust it as the child grows.
Whether your baby is wearing a coat or not the retainer or chest clip should always be positioned between the nipples and armpits. This ensures that your child remains snug in seat.
Instead of bulky winter coats many parents are opting to dress their children in thin performance fleece. This is also called Polar Fleece. It is warm, comfortable and very soft and does not add the kind of bulk that big puffy snowsuits can to the security of your car seat.
Still despite the niftiness of clothing the ideal is to have as much of your child’s spine meeting the back of the car seat so that the shock of any impact is spread over the entire body and not just a certain point.
Mohammad is the owner and operator of Baby Car Seat Installers located in Markham, Ontario. He is a certified Car Seat Installation Technician through St Johns Ambulance. Mohammad offers free car seat inspections. Contact by phone at 1 416 882 4248 Website: www.carseatinstallers.com