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Monday, July 16, 2012

Car seat safety: Puffy coats

Around here, it doesn't get that cold during the winter, but it still gets cold enough to need a coat, so I see many people trying to cram their children in their car seats with big puffy coats on.

There are several reasons why this is not a good idea.

I'll start off with a couple of pictures...

This is Farrah Abraham's daughter Sophia. The coat was so big that she decided she just wouldn't buckle the bottom buckle I suppose. She did the same thing with the bottom buckle in last week's Teen Mom episode. Farrah is terrible with car seat safety, but sadly, she is not the worst I've seen :(

Here is another picture that I got off of a car seat safety Facebook page.

Again, the coats prevent the straps from being properly placed.

This is what happens when you try to squeeze your child in their car seat with the puffy coat. 

Some parents are aware that this is obviously not safe, so instead, they loosen the straps. They straps would then be properly placed, and could even pass the pinch test, but the coat creates the "deceitful snugness" I talked about before. In a crash, the coat would compress, and the straps would no longer pass the pinch test, which leaves your child vulnerable to injury or even ejection from the seat during a crash. 

Here is a link to a video that demonstrates everything I have just talked about...

The basics of the video is showing you how to test if your child's coat is too puffy. Put your child's coat on, strap your child into her car seat, and make sure the straps are snug. Then, don't adjust the straps at all, remove you child and remove her coat, place her back in her car seat. If the straps are too lose now, the coat is too big. 

Now, a lot of people complain that their child will be too cold without a coat. There are several solutions for this. 

1. Let your car warm up before you leave. I'm not to fond of this one. I know someone who was doing this, and their car was stolen, so I don't typically do this, but it's an option. 

2. A thin jacket like fleece. As long as it passes the test I just talked about, then your child can wear it. 

3. Blankets. Keep a nice warm blanket in your car to cover your child with. This is my favorite method. I know that some kids won't keep a blanket on though, so that is why I listed the other methods. Also, make sure the blanket covers the child and the straps. Do not have the straps over the blanket.

*** For taking your children to the car, either put them in the big coat and remove it when putting them in the seat or wrap them in a blanket. 

Also, I would like to point out that keeping your child in a heavy coat in the car can cause them to become too hot once the car has warmed up. With a blanket, the child can throw it off or you can pull it off once the child has warmed up. 

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