According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 46 percent of children ride in car seats that are incorrectly installed in such ways that crash protection is reduced. One of the most common forms of poor car seat installation and use is loose harness straps.
In Bellingham winters, most days are cold enough to warrant the use of a warm jacket and it is only reasonable that parents would want to bundle their kids up. Many parents then loosen car seat straps to fit around the bulk of the winter coat. Unfortunately, the space created between the coat and your child’s frame is a dangerous risk for your children. If a car accident occurs at about 30 miles per hour or higher, the coat may compress but the straps will stay in place thereby leaving a gap that could cause the child to be tossed around or even ejected from the seat.
Most winter coats will be too bulky to wear safely in a car seat as it will require the loosening of the straps away from your child’s frame.
Use this test:
-Put the coat on your child and strap them into their car seat. Tighten the harness until you can no longer pinch any of the harness webbing with your thumb and forefinger.
-Leave the harness in its position and remove your child from the car seat.
-Take your child’s coat off, place them back into their car seat and re-buckle without tightening the straps. If there is now room to pinch the webbing between your thumb and forefinger, then the coat is too bulky to be worn under the harness.
If you determine that your child’s winter coat is too bulky to be worn in a car seat, use these tips to keep your child warm:
-Invest in a fuzzy zip up sweater or hooded sweatshirt that will help to shield them from the cold. Bring their coat along.
-Once the child is secured in their car seat, turn the coat around and place it backward on their arms.
-Alternately, you can keep a blanket in the car and place it on their lap.
Sadly, many parents are simply unaware of the dangers of puffy winter coats or snow suits stuffed into car seats. Others don’t feel that it’s practical to remove and re-dress the child in their coat every time the car is entered and exited. Thankfully, though, many more parents are being educated on this topic every day. Some car seat manufacturers have caught on and now include winter coat instructions in their safety manuals.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!