Winter coats and car seats: a dangerous combination

Winter coats and car seats: a dangerous combination

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - Firefighters in the Heartland say they regularly see car seats installed improperly.

However, Jackson Firefighter and car seat teach, Michael Gentry says when the temperature drops, there is another danger.

The issue is winter coats and car seats.

Gentry explains car seat harnesses do not adjust automatically like a seat belt does when you get in a car with a big jacket.

"The harness system is fitted for him without the jacket so if we add the jacket it's going to add extra pressure and we don't want that," Gentry said.

The other issue: a bulky coat under a child seat harness can result in the harness being too loose to be effective in a crash, according to Consumer Reports.

"If the car seat harness is too loose then the child can move around in the car seat and he can slide back and forth and in the event of a car wreck the child will not be properly secured so the child could come out of the car seat," Gentry said.

The best idea is to put a jacket or blanket on top of the child once they are buckled in.

"I would recommend as a car seat tech keep them in just a t-shirt, put the harness on them and whatever jacket is easier to throw on top of them and then when you get him out put him in the jacket and your good to go for the day," Gentry said.

Here is a simple way to check if your child's coat is too big and bulky to wear under their harness:

  • Put the coat on your child, sit them in the child seat and fasten the harness. Tighten the harness until you can no longer pinch any of the harness webbing with your thumb and forefinger.
  • Without loosening the harness, remove your child from the child seat.
  • Take the coat off, and put your child back in the child seat and buckle the harness straps, which are still adjusted as they were when he was wearing the coat.
  • If you can now pinch the webbing between your thumb and forefinger, then the coat is too bulky to be worn under the harness.

Are you curious if your car seat is properly installed?

CLICK HERE to find the nearest certified car seat tech in your area.

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