It’s January and the weather is starting to become a bit colder and I expect most of us will be digging out our bulky winter coats soon if you haven’t already. If you are a new mum or about to become a new mum you will probably buy or receive some beautiful winter coats or all in one snowsuits for your baby but I want and need you to think twice before using these in conjunction with your car seats as we move into the winter season.
You need to make sure that there is nothing compressible between your child and the straps. All you have to do is compress a bulky coat in your hands and then let go and watch the air fill back up instantly. Even the RSA (road safety authority) have advised that bulky winter coats can pose a serious threat when worn under the straps of car seats and they even mention booster seats too so this warning is not just for tiny babies.
So how do you know if your child’s jacket is too bulky? Well the primary concern is the thickness of the fabric especially puffy jackets and snowsuits. Here’s a little experiment you can do at home to check if winter coats are safe for car Seats. This test will show you how thick the coat is and how much the coat will compress during a crash.
- Take the car seat into the house.
- Put the winter coat or snowsuit on the child.
- Put the child in the car seat and buckle the harnesses as you normally would before car travel. Adjust the straps to the appropriate fit for your child.
- Take the child out of the car seat without loosening the straps at all.
- Take the coat off your child.
- Put the child back in the car seat and buckle the harnesses again, but do not tighten the straps.
- If you can fit more than two fingers under the harness at the child’s shoulder bone, the coat is too thick and is not safe for use with the car seat.
I can pretty much guarantee you no winter jacket you have is safe! Basically the thickened fabric will compress and leave the harness slack on the child, allowing excessive movement or even ejection in the event of an accident.
But my child will be cold? It’s such a hassle! What are my alternatives? I hear you and as a busy mum myself even an extra 10 seconds sometimes can seem like a lot, but I cannot stress how important this is. I am deeply passionate about getting this message across as my son’s car seat saved his life in an accident and not just his car seat, but the fact that he was restrained tightly enough. Someone reversed into me so it was not my fault and unexpected so please ‘safety first.’
In the winter you can put extra layers on them, long johns, tights, thermal vests or a hat. You can also just take the coat off strap them in and put their coat on backwards so they can put their arms through the opposite way round. If you have a wriggler this won’t work so there are companies like Happynest, and Morrck that sell baby wraps that allow the baby to be strapped securely into the car seat without interfering with the safety of the straps. There are also videos on both of these sites, which will show quite clearly how these products work. You can also get car seat ponchos from Car Seat Poncho which make it incredibly easy to get your child in and out of the car.
So maybe coming up to Christmas if you are buying a pressie for a new mum, park the snowsuit and embrace the wrap.
Help me to spread the word and save lives by buying functional, safe and effective presents and sharing this post with your friends