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car crashAs parents, we all want what is best for our children. We make sure they attend every check-up and baby proof our homes when they start toddling around. Did you know that you could be putting your child at risk of major injury or death when buckling them into their car seat? Each year several children are injured or killed when involved in a car crash when they are not properly secured in their car seat.

A car seat is a buffer between the child and the impact of a car crash. There are several safety regulations that should be followed so that in the event you are involved in a car crash while your child is on board, they will remain safe and sound.

Winter Coats and Safety Seats

There is a major safety issue surrounding a car crash and child safety seats. Most parents are unaware that their child should be buckled into their car seat without their winter coats. Most parents want to ensure their child is safe and warm and could be putting their child into harm’s way by buckling them in with their coat on.

In a car crash, the child’s safety seat is designed to absorb some of the impact. In order for the seat to properly protect the child, the seat harness must be tightly fitted to their torso area. When you buckle your child into their car seat while wearing their winter coat, you are creating an empty space between the child’s body and the harness. Although the harness feels tight, the force of the impact in a car crash can cause the coat to compress leaving the harness loosely fitted and causing space in which your child could be thrown from the seat.

The best practice for keeping your child warm and safe is to buckle them in without their coat and cover them with their coat or a blanket for the car ride. This extra step could mean the difference of life or death after a car crash. Check out the video below for a demonstration of the danger of using a car seat while your child is wearing a coat.

Proper Car Seat Guidelines To Prevent Car Crash Injury

Rear Facing Car Seat

  • For use in children 0 – 4 years or up to 35 lbs.
  • Children who weigh less than 20 pounds or are younger than 3 years old should always be in rear-facing seats
  • Harness straps should be at or below shoulder level

Convertible Car Seat

  • For use in children up to 4 years
  • To prevent car crash injury, continue to use rear facing seat until the child weighs more than 40 lbs.

Booster Seat

  • For use in children over 40 lbs.
  • Should be used until the child is 8 years old, 80 lbs, or over 4’9″ tall (in the State of Missouri)

While using the proper car seat for your child’s size and age is the best defense against a car crash injury, it is still commonplace for many parents to misuse the car seats. Here are a few tips for protecting your child while in the car seat:

  1. All children should be secured into their car seat in the back seat of the vehicle
  2. When kids graduate to a booster seat, make sure you use both the shoulder and lap belts and that they are positioned properly
  3. Follow your state’s guidelines so that your child doesn’t get injured in a car crash

Other Car Crash and Safety Seat Tips:

  • Register your seat so you are notified of any safety recalls
  • If your seat is involved in a car crash, get rid of it – the safety features could be compromised
  • Use caution when buying second-hand seats, they could be damaged
  • NEVER use a car seat in the front seat of the vehicle – the seat is too close to the airbag
  • Always use the car seat even while traveling shorts distances. You never know when a car crash will happen
  • The back seat is the best place for a child under the age of 12
  • Contact your local fire or police department to see if they provide car seat safety training