What is one thing that you use with your child almost daily from the time they are born until they are over eight years old? There are not too many products that fit it that category with one exception… car seats. Car seat safety is always on my mind every time we travel. For something that we use so much, people can still make mistakes when installing or buckling a child in a car seat.
The Allstate GOOD HANDS® Precious Cargo blog series contains information and pointers to help keep your child safe in their car seat. Allstate worked with the experts at Safety 1st to bring you tips and supporting data about all things car seat safety such as: where you can go to be sure your seat is installed properly (you can even sign up for a local car seat clinic), where to install your car seat (back seat or middle row of a van), how to properly install your car seat (they even have a helpful video, see it below) and much more!
Wintertime brings some unique challenges when it comes to keeping kids safe and comfortable in a car. You want your child to be warm, but bulky coats and car seats can be a dangerous combination for them when travelling in a car. Protecting Our Most Precious Cargo: Winter Car Seat Safety has helpful tips and diagrams to help prepare for winter car seat safety. Which brings me to this question…
Did you know that the average thickness of a winter coat is about 3 inches? That doesn’t seem like a lot when written numerically, but when you think about sizing…it becomes a lot. Imagine trying to put a size 3T on your one-year-old, or fitting into a shoe that is three inches too big — both scenarios would not work in your favor. Now, let’s get back to the winter coat; when you place your child/infant into a car seat with a thick coat on and tighten the straps to fit comfortably, they seem pretty secure, right? Now, if you take off that coat and put them back into the seat with just a sweater or long sleeved shirt, the straps are likely too loose…about three inches too loose. This amount of space could be enough to result in injury of your child in a car collision. Although the straps seem secure with the coat on, in a collision, all the air and padding compress, causing the straps to become too loose, which can result in injuries.
How to keep your child warm in a car seat in the winter
Here are some great ways to keep your child warm in the car, without that thick coat:
- Blankets, put over the child after they are strapped into the seat
- Warm, thin, snug layers of clothing
- Hats, mittens and boots
- Car seat poncho
- Car seat covers (for infant car seats while transporting to the car)
- Remove their coat, buckle them in and then put their coat on backwards
And let’s face it, once the car is started and the heat is on…they get pretty warm in those seats! A blanket is much easier to throw off (or bundle up) in these situations!
Did you know that 95% of Canadian parents believe they know how to properly buckle a child into a car seat? However, this same poll showed that 23% of Canadians feel the best way to keep children under 12 warm is to dress them in a snowsuit, with only one-in-ten saying that warm, thin layers was best. These statistics were taken from a national Allstate Canada poll. Not sure if your child’s coat is too thick? Consider doing the test outlined below to help you determine if your child’s coat is too thick to be safe while riding in a car seat.
There are so many things to consider when taking your children out in the car, it’s nice to know we have somewhere to go to have our questions answered. If you’re a first time parent, all of these regulations can be overwhelming, so just take it step by step. Start with the installation of the car seat and go from there. You’ll soon get the hang of it!
To help bring in this winter with safe car seat practices, we are hosting a giveaway! A Safety 1st Grow and Go™ 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is up for grabs. This car seat is made to grow with your child, with a weight scale from 5-100 lbs. It comes with baby body pillows that give a snug fit for baby, but can be easily removed when outgrown.