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A deadly car seat mistake that many parents are making in winter

January 10, 2017 by Steven M. Gursten

Even when bulky winter coats seem secured under the car seat harness, your little ones are in danger of sliding out of the child safety seat if an auto accident occurs


We all know that when we strap our babies and toddlers in car seats, we’re taking an imperative safety step for our children. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says car seats reduce the risk of death in crashes by 71% for infants and 54% for kids ages 1 through 4.

But in the winter, many well-intentioned parents don’t realize they’re making a big mistake when it comes to putting their infants and tots in car seats – a mistake that may even be putting their child’s life in danger if a motor vehicle accident occurs.

The mistake: Loosening the straps on the car seat to account for a thick winter jacket.

Why is this so dangerous?

There’s always going to be some extra slack when a winter coat comes off. This is dangerous because if a car accident occurs, a baby or toddler can slide out of the car seat.  It is this extra space between the child and the harness that makes this so potentially deadly.

You can see this in the video I’ve included above. At an official crash test lab in Michigan, a child dummy that appeared to be securely strapped into a car seat came hurtling out of it in a simulated 30-mph car crash, according to a report by USA Today.

So, what can you do to ensure your child is safe and warm while the snow comes down?

Strap your child securely in the car seat without a winter coat on.

Experts, like Sue Auriemma from Kids and Cars, also say that instead of putting the coat on the child, put it over the child, or use a blanket instead.

Meanwhile, a Mason, Michigan mom named Allison O’Rourke has designed a solution to keep kids safe and toasty in their car seats. It’s called the “WarmMe” and it takes the place of a winter coat.

WarmMe hangs like a shawl and is secured by one simple button. It has pockets on the inside so that the little once can tuck their hands inside and then wrap it nice and tight if it’s a really cold and windy day.

For $40 plus tax and shipping you can get the “WarmMe” delivered right to your door.

Related info:

Michigan’s existing car seat law and interpretation

How long should my child be in a rear-facing car seat

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