Practical Parenting Ideas: Winter Car Seat Safety Reminders

Monday, November 24, 2014

Winter Car Seat Safety Reminders

We're very passionate about car seat safety, and for good reason! Car seat accidents are the leading cause of death of children ages 12 and younger. Also, the fact is that as many as 75% of car seats are installed incorrectly. In addition to general proper car seat use, winter adds a new element to keeping the kids safe in the car.

7 steps to ensure your child rides safely this winter:
  1. Avoid Bulky Clothing: While you want your little ones to stay warm when on-the-go, it's not safe to strap them into the car seat with a bulky coat or other clothing. The coat will compress in an accident, giving baby more space to move and increase the likelihood of injury (below is a video that demonstrates this). Rather than using a coat, put your child in a long-sleeve shirt or thin sweatshirt while they're in the car.
  2. Remove Excess Blankets: Avoid putting blankets behind baby's back. I recommend not using any type of insert unless it was specially made for your particular car seat. Similar to the coat rule reasoning, strap baby properly into the car seat before adding blankets.
  3. Adjust Strap and Clip: Ensure the strap level is at or just below your child's shoulders for rear-facing or at or just above for front-facing to achieve a safe fit. The chest clip should be at armpit level to keep child secure. A chest clip too low puts child at the risk of being thrown out of their car seat in an accident. 
  4. Pinch Test: Check the harness using the "pinch test" by pinching the straps to check for excess fabric. Adjust the tightness of the straps until you are unable to pinch the fabric between your fingers, while also ensuring the straps aren't too tight that you're constricting your child. 
  5. Cover Up with Coat or Blankets: Only after child is properly secured in his car seat, cover them with their coat or a blanket. We like to keep a blanket in the car during the winter for especially chilly mornings.
  6. Check your Tailpipe: Before starting your car, walk around it to ensure the tailpipe is not blocked with snow. A tailpipe that is unable to function properly puts you at the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  7. Be Prepared for Icy Conditions: You should slow down and drive safely all year, but especially when there may be slippery roads. In case you get stuck in the snow or other adverse conditions, always have an emergency supply in the car. Pack some age-appropriate snacks and food (baby food/formula or non-perishable foods packaged foods), water, extra clothing, a first aid kit, and a blanket. 
In addition to these winter safety reminders, we always recommend getting your car seat checked to ensure it is installed correctly, avoid using expired car seats, and replace car seats that have been in an accident. I highly recommend a car seat safety class as well for new parents or those that need a refresher.

Have a SAFE holiday season! 

Find additional help regarding car seat safety and proper car seat usage.

Safe Kids and Parent's Central

1 comment:

  1. Great advice! You would think putting a child into a car seat wouldn't be so complicated! The avoiding bulky clothing and coats is so important. I am scheduling this to share on my Facebook page.