Saturday, November 15, 2014

Car Seat Safety Tips for Winter

Car seat safety is very important to me.  I was the last of my friends to forward-face my son in his convertible car seat.  We turned him a couple of weeks before his second birthday.  This was before it was actually the law to rear-face until age two.  With winter approaching...well, I'm in Ohio, it's here...I feel it's important to review some car seat safety tips.

No coats in car seats!  My grandmother still to this day tells me that my child needs his coat on in the car.  I have told her until I'm blue in the face that it's not safe.  With a coat on, it is impossible to get the straps tight enough to actually hold your child in the seat in the event of an accident.  I have seen very graphic pictures and videos of a coat left behind in the car seat while the child wearing it was ejected.  I thought this was common sense in this day and age, but I just saw a picture a friend posted on Facebook of her three kids wearing coats while strapped in their car seats.

Tom's Ware Unisex-baby Winter Lamby Hoodie
Tom's Ware Winter Lamby Hoodie
What to do instead:  Have your child wear his coat to the car, remove it before getting in the seat, and cover the child with his coat or blanket.  We always keep a blanket in the car for this purpose.  Yes, it's an extra step and it takes some time, but your child's safety is worth it.  For the non-walking child, you can purchase an all-in-one suit that zips.  I am not talking about a bulky snow suit, rather a light-weight fleece that your child can wear over his regular clothing.  Something similar to the picture to the right would be perfect.

Cozy Cover
Nothing between the infant seat and your child.  There is a popular brand of car seat blanket that goes behind your child and zips up around them.  I'm guilty because I had one with my son.  I didn't know at the time how unsafe it was.  I thought it was an alternative to wearing a coat.  The concept is the same as coats in the car seat, though.  You cannot get the car seat straps tight enough to protect your child during an accident.

What to do instead:  For infant carriers, purchase a cover that goes around the outside of the car seat.  I purchased this cozy cover for my daughter.  It was cheaper than other brands and it fits our Graco Click Connect car seat just fine.

Other tips:  
Warm the car ahead of time.  Most cars have remote start systems, and for those who don't, take the extra five minutes to start your car before you head outside.  (Just remember to raise your garage door!)

Older children can wear a thin coat in the car seat, just make sure to move coat down over the shoulders so it does not come between the straps and the child.  Once buckled, zip the coat up around the child.

A child-size snuggie is perfect for keeping the child warm in the car seat.  After the child is buckled in, have them slip their arms through the sleeves and cover up!  They make fun ones for kids, my son has one that looks like Buzz Lightyear.

You should not be able to "pinch an inch" of the car seat straps.  If you can, the straps are too loose.

Many car seat manufacturers do not recommend any after-market products and the use of after-market products voids the warranty.

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