Children are the most precious cargo in a car, but they are also the most vulnerable to serious injury in the event of a car accident. Parents are constantly bombarded with new research and key safety innovations on child car safety seats, but many parents do not realize that their child’s winter coat may be preventing the safety seat from protecting their child.
Safety advocates at Brazos Valley Injury Prevention Coalition are warning parents that thick, fluffy winter coats can affect the fit of their child’s car seat, leaving them prone to ejection from the safety seat, or serious injuries from a car accident. Heavy winter coats can add up to an inch of space between the child and the safety straps that secure the child into the seat.
A child that is that not properly secured in a car safety seat can be ejected from the seat by the force of a collision. Traumatic brain injury, head, neck, and spinal injuries, and internal organ damage can also result if a child is thrust back and forth against the straps that are intended to hold them securely.
Safety officials recommend that parents perform a pinch test to determine if the child’s winter coat is preventing the car seat from protecting their child. Parents should place their child in their car seat and secure them, then pinch the safety strap to determine if the straps are up against the child’s body, or if they are positioned and secured to the coat. The safety strap should be touching the child’s body to fully protect them in a car accident.
Parents can further protect their children by leaving the thick, puffy winter coat off, and strap the child in the safety car seat without the coat on. After making sure that the child is properly secured, parents can lay a blanket or the child’s coat across the car seat to cover them.
Other Car Safety Tips for Winter Travel
Once children are safe and securely fastened into their car seats, there are a few more things to do to protect them during winter travel.
- Keep children in the rear facing position in the back seat of your vehicle for as long as possible.
- Check body height and weight guidelines frequently to ensure your child is in the most appropriate car safety seat. Age is not a recommended determination for choosing a car safety seat.
- Regularly check the positioning and belt connections that secure the car safety seat in the vehicle and adjust as necessary.
- Avoid food and drink in the car to avoid choking hazards brought on by sudden stops or poor weather conditions.
- Inspect tires for wear and tear and be sure they have proper air pressure to maintain control in winter driving conditions.
- Carry extra blankets, non-perishable food, and water bottles in the event you become stranded with your children during inclement weather.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Fight for Victims of Driver Negligence
If you or your child has been injured in a car accident, call the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 803-929-3600, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. We will hold the negligent party accountable for your injuries, so you can focus on your recovery.
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