Bulky winter coats and car seats are a dangerous combination, says representatives of Safe Journey at the Hamilton County Sheriff's office. Car seat professionals advise to put nothing thicker than a sweatshirt on a child under the harness straps of the car seat.
In the event of a crash, the bulky material of a winter coat could compress, creating slack in the harness straps. When the harness straps are not snug on the child, the straps are not able to do their job of helping the child come to a gentle stop in a crash. It is even possible that the child could slip through the harness straps due to the slack and come out of the car seat during a crash.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends buckling a child in the car seat wearing indoor clothing, then placing a blanket over the child for warmth, or placing the child’s winter coat on the child backwards after securing the harnesses.
A car seat is designed to protect a child in the event of a crash. People must use the car seat correctly, following all of the manufacturer’s recommendations, in order for the car seat to perform properly.
For more information call Safe Journey at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office at 893-3503, option 3 or attend one of Safe Journey’s car seat checkpoints. The schedule is available at hcsheriff.gov, under the uniform services tab.
Safe Journey is a project funded through the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.