The next few days are bringing very frigid temperatures to our area. This is a great opportunity to review car seat safety with all the winter layers!
In general, bulky layers and blankets should NOT be worn underneath the buckles/straps of a car seat. These articles can flatten quickly under even gentle pressure, so a crash can flatten them. If this extra space is present, it can lead to a child slipping underneath the harness and being thrown from the seat. Below are a few recommendations from both the department of transportation (DOT) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding car seat safety:
- All children under age 2 years should be secured in rear-facing car seats in the back seat of the vehicle (not just a recommendation, it’s the law)
- Dress your child in thin layers, like tights or leggings and a sweater. A good rule of thumb is to add one more layer to what you are wearing – if you’re in a coat and hat, they should wear a coat and hat as well, then add a blanket on top.
- Buckle your child into the car seat snugly while in their light layers, then add a blanket or heavy coat on top. When they are buckled in, you should not be able to pinch the strap between your fingers.
- Hats, mittens, booties, and other winter accessories are a great way to keep warm without interfering with car seat straps. Car seat covers are also nice, as long as they do not interfere with the straps to secure your child.
It’s also a good idea to have an emergency bag packed and available in the trunk. This is a good place to store extra blankets, socks, mittens, and a snack.