CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - It’s time to bundle your kids up in their winter jackets, and if you’re putting them in car seats, there’s a safe way to do so with all the extra layers.
If you take your kids somewhere in the car, their puffy jackets make the car seat harness too loose. That puts them in danger, especially when the roads get slippery from snow and ice.
The most important thing is to take off your child's coat before you buckle them in the car seat. Even if you tighten the buckle all the way, the jacket compresses during a crash and doesn't hold the child in safely.
If you want to test this out, put your child in the car seat with a jacket on and tighten the straps fully. Then, take your kid out without adjusting the straps and take the jacket off. Put him/her back in the car seat, and when you buckle it, you’ll see all the extra room you might not have noticed with the jacket on.
Car seat safety experts say this extra space will allow your child to jolt forward or even fall out of the car seat, even in a low speed crash.
"There are lots of crash testing videos that show. A lot of people they feel like oh that wouldn’t happen. But you watch these crash test videos and it’s like oh my gosh wow. It’s scary,” said Ashley Koehler, safe communities coordinator.
If you can pinch the harness straps once your child is buckled in without a jacket, it isn’t tight enough.
And if you’re worried about your kid being cold, Koehler recommended to put a jacket or a blanket over them after you buckle them in.
Also she said to not use car seat products that haven’t been crash tested with your exact car seat.