Keeping Children Safe in the Car
Baby It’s Cold Outside! So how do you keep kids warm and safe when child restraints and bulky winter clothing just don’t mix?
The same stuff that makes winter wear warm can also interfere with the safety of your child restraint. Anything that adds bulk between a child and a restraint/harness system can interfere with properly adjusting* the harness or seat belt. With a bulky jacket or padded bag the harness appears tight; however, the forces of a crash cause the padding to compress which then creates slack between the safety device and child. Under these conditions the child is not properly restrained.
For years Transport Canada has been warning against the use of these and other Third Party after- market products.
Okay, so how do we keep kids warm in the car?
Babies in infant seats are easy. Dress the baby warmly in a sweater or polar fleece jacket or one-piece, adjust the harness properly and then layer the baby with blankets. A shower cap style cover that just fits over the infant seat is perfect for this.
There are several options for older kids. Look for outwear that is made with thinner materials like polar fleece, squall jackets or 3-in-1 jackets (where you remove the bulky layer while in the car). A coat worn backwards or even a poncho can work as long as they are put over the properly adjusted harness. One last trick is to open the jacket, adjust the harness and then zip the jacket back up.
How to check if your child’s jacket is too bulky:
Have the child wear their coat, place them into the child restraint and adjust the harness as tightly as possible.
Now take the child out of the restraint WITHOUT loosening the harness. Take the coat off, place the child back into the seat and buckle the harness. If there is a lot of slack in the harness then the coat is too bulky.
*Remember that a properly adjusted harness will sit snugly against the child’s collar bone and hips. You should not be able to pinch the shoulder straps or get more than two fingers between the collar bone and harness.