In cold weather, we bundle up our children to prepare them for the elements. But, a bulky coat and a car seat can be a dangerous combination.
The harness might not be tight enough to secure your child in a crash. Here’s how to check whether your child’s coat is too big and bulky to wear under the car seat harness.
First, put your baby in their coat and properly secure them in the car seat so there’s no slack in the harness straps. Then, remove the coat and put them back in the seat to see whether the straps are loose. If they are loose, in a crash, your child could ride up, putting their head outside the protection of the seat, resulting in a possible head injury.
So, how can you keep your baby safe and warm in the car?
Consumer Reports recommends first securing them into his seat and then putting a blanket on top of the harness.
If you have a bigger child, you can use the same test to see how much room their puffy coat puts between them and the harness. Then, teach your child the trick of wearing their coat over the harness and riding in the car. Just put their arms in the sleeves and use the coat as a blanket.
In any kind of weather, Consumer Reports says always make sure that your child is properly harnessed every time. You should notbe able to pinch any fabric, and his/her chest clip should always be at armpit level.
Along with those tips, Consumer Reports suggests you periodically go to a car seat checkup event to make sure your seat is properly installed.
Today Show report.
Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. While it may be tempting to dash out for a quick errand while your babies are sleeping peacefully in their car seats, the temperature inside your car can rise quickly and cause heatstroke in the time it takes for you to run in and out of the store.
Leaving a child alone in a car is against the law in many states.
Look at the label on your car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height and development. Your car seat has an expiration date – usually around six years. Find the label and double check to make sure it’s still safe. Discard a seat that is expired in a dark trash bag so that it cannot be pulled from the trash and reused.
Pediatricians and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend keeping your child in a booster seat until he or she is 4’9″ or is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. That usually happens between 8 and 12 years old.
For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest, and not cross the neck or face.
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping children rear-facing until at least 2 years old, or until they exceed the height or weight limit for the car seat.
This acronym stands for “Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren.” This new child restraint installation system has been available on safety seats (except car beds and belt-positioning boosters) made after September 1, 2002, and on some made earlier. The corresponding anchor hardware, also required by that date, is widely available in earlier vehicles as well. For more details, go to LATCH and follow the various links.
There is some controversy about the “expiration” date for safety seats. All experts agree that a seat should be discarded and destroyed if it is more than 10 years old, even if it looks fine. Most manufacturers suggest replacing a seat 5 to 8 years after the date of manufacture, because current safety seats may have better safety features than older seats, such as a tether or air bag warnings. The date of manufacture may be found on a sticker on the seat (unless it has peeled off) and may be stamped into the plastic shell. However, don’t confuse patent dates, which can also be molded into the plastic, with the date the individual safety seat was manufactured.
The “best” safety seat is the one that fits your child, fits your car, and fits your family’s needs in terms of comfort and convenience, so that you’ll use it on every single ride. For more information about selecting a safety seat to fit your child, see “Best Child Safety Seat.”
Pennsylvania’s Child Passenger Safety Law
The law has ramifications for child passenger safety enforcement throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
Concerning child seats and restraints, the update to law makes it a primary violation to not use a booster seat for a child 4 to 8 and not not use a seatbelt for a child 8 to 18.