As cold weather sets in around Montana, parents will start to bundle up their children when they are leaving home. While fluffy coats, snuggly hats and wooly mittens are intended to keep children warm and safe, the coats at least could actually be harming children and putting them at risk. It has been found that puffy winter coats can reduce the effectiveness of child safety seats in vehicles.
Precision Tune notes the extra layers of clothing and outerwear lead to seat belts and safety harnesses not being able to be tightened enough to be effective. This loose fit can lead to children being thrown from their safety seat in a crash situation. Parents can check this issue by putting their child in his or her safety seat or seat belt while wearing a winter coat and then removing the coat and seeing the slack in the belt or harness.
This may concern parents who want to keep their children warm but worry about safety in the car, too. Consumer Reports notes there are other steps parents can take to keep their children well protected in a vehicle and avoid the issue of puffy winter coats reducing safety belt effectiveness. A thin jacket paired with a blanket can keep children toasty in the car. In addition, a coat can be put on the child backward after the safety belt has been put on. Parents should also heat up the vehicle and ensure the heater runs properly throughout the trip to keep everyone in the vehicle cozy.