As the days get chillier, it’s natural for parents to want to bundle up their babies in layers of clothes and puffy coats. However, these fluffy jackets might be making your infant more unsafe once they get strapped in their car seat. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a winter coat can compress in the event you get into an accident, creating extra room between your child and their car seat’s harness. Without the straps being appropriately secured, a child can be thrown from the seat upon impact.
It’s important to be educated on the best way to make sure your baby is safe and warm in the back seat:
- Be prepared
Always have backup blankets, mittens, and hats stowed in the car in case of an emergency. This is also a good thing to keep in mind if there’s inclement weather and your baby gets wet in rain or snow.
- Use a blanket or poncho
It’s important not to use anything to cover your baby that would be wrapped around the baby under their harness straps. Though you might feel inclined to wrap an infant up to keep him warm, putting extra padding behind them in the seat is unsafe. Draping a blanket over your baby is safe to do.
- Bring the car seat inside between drives
Bringing the carrier portion of your infant’s car seat indoors while not in the car can keep your child from losing body heat when they immediately get in the car. It’ll help keep them warmer for a bit longer. If you choose to do this, it’s important to leave the house in advance so that you don’t rush strapping your child back in place.
- Make sure the straps are tight enough
Straps should be tight enough so that you cannot pinch the straps, but loose enough so that you can fit one finger in between the strap and your baby. Therefore, it’s important to take off bulky layers so that you are not misled to believe the straps are tight enough.
- Dress in layers
Layers enable you to put tighter clothing on your child’s body as a base to then put heavier sweaters or jackets on top that can be removed for safety. It’s important to keep in mind that infants usually need one extra layer compared to what you might feel comfortable wearing.
Car seats are meticulously tested for crash scenarios, so it’s important that you do not use any products that “add” to the car seat. Items like sleeping bags or stroller accessories can compromise the safety of the car seat.