The arrival of cold and wintry weather creates a special challenge for parents and caregivers of infants and children. It’s important to keep our little ones warm and protected from the wintry elements but kids, car seats, and coats can be a dangerous combination in winter weather.
A difficult balancing act exists between keeping children safely secured in their car seats and keeping them warm while traveling in wintry conditions. Never’place children under a car seat harness wearing bulky or fluffy clothing like coats, vests, and snowsuits. These items impede the car seat safety harness function and increase the risk of injury or death in a car crash. Bulky and fluffy coats and clothing flattens in a crash preventing the car seat harness from operating as intended to securely hold the child in place. This leaves children vulnerable to slipping from the car seat, and being thrown in a car crash. This principle is also true for adults wearing bulky winter coats and clothing under their seat belts.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following winter car seat safety tips:
The AAP also recommends getting an early start with young children and infants when driving in wintry conditions. Give yourself plenty of time to drive slowly and carefully. The pediatricians’ group also suggests packing an emergency bag with extra clothing, hats, gloves, blankets, and light snacks in the event of an on-road emergency or delay due to wintry weather conditions.
These winter car seat safety tips can help keep your children safe and warm while the weather outside is frightful, and ensure happy winter travel memories.