The temperatures are dropping and your baby needs bundling, but safety experts are warning against dressing your baby in a winter coat before strapping them in a car seat.
While it may be uncomfortable for your child to have to wear thin layers in the cold before being buckled in, these few seconds of discomfort may save their life.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, all that fluffy padding may be putting them at risk.Padding Isn't A Good Thing
Padding Isn't A Good Thing
Pieter Kuiper [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Whether your child is dressed in a winter coat or snowsuit, experts say these clothing items should not be worn underneath the harness of a car seat.
"In a car crash, fluffy padding immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space under the harness. A child can then slip through the straps and be thrown from the seat," they wrote on their website.
If you think about it, it makes sense. It's considerably difficult to properly strap in a child when they're in bulky outerwear. And keep in mind, the bigger the coat, the more at risk your baby will be of getting injured.
As a general rule of thumb, when you strap in a child in a car seat, you should not be able to pinch the webbing at the child's collarbone.
If you grasp any material, the harness is way too loose. Your fingers should always slide off the webbing when you do a pinch test.
How To Keep Your Child Warm And Safe
The American Academy of Pediatrics shared a few tips to keep your children safe this winter.
1. Store your child's car seat indoors
Stepping inside a cold car is no fun, especially when the seat feels like a block of ice.
Children also despise this feeling, which is why you should always store your child's car seat at room temperature.
That way, they will retain their body heat and won't feel quite as uncomfortable right when they get in the car.
2. Dress your baby in thin layers
There's nothing wrong with layering, you just want to make sure that it's safe.
"Infants should wear one more layer than adults. If you have a hat and a coat on, your infant will probably need a hat, coat, and blanket," experts recommend.
It's a good idea to dress your child in tights or leggings, then add pants and a warmer top. If the weather is really cold, put a blanket over their body.
3. Winter accessories are important
People often overlook the power of hats, scarves, mittens, extra socks, and warm shoes during winter.When your head, feet, hands, and neck are warm, it really helps to retain heat.
4. Put a coat or blanket over the straps
You can always place a blanket or coat over your baby when they're safely strapped in.
This is also a good idea because if your child gets warm when the car heats up, you can always remove the extra piece of clothing, rather than having to make a stop to undress and buckle them in again.