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Child Passenger Safety

Bundling Can Be Dangerous

Add blanket after adjusting

During cold weather it seems like common sense to bundle up before getting into the car. However, safety belts, child safety seats and booster seats provide the best protection when they contact the strongest parts of the body. Thick coats and bulky blankets may make this impossible.

Children in car seats:
Avoid placing thick winter coats or blankets on a child before strapping them into their child safety seat with harness straps. During a crash the coat or blanket can compress causing the harness straps to be too loose. They also make it difficult to place the harness straps on the shoulders and over the hips and the retainer clip level with the arm pits.

Option 1: Strap child in car seat in lighter coat, then add blanket or coat over the child once they
are secure.

Option 2:
Zip around the straps by placing jacket on child, open front of jacket and pull it out of the way on both sides; buckle straps and chest clip. Once harness is tight, zip or snap jacket closed over harness straps.

• Older children in booster seats:
While seated in the booster seat, the safety belt needs to be snug across the child's hips and
collarbone to provide the best protection. Thick winter coats can interfere with correct fit and allow the safety belt to be too loose or not contact the strongest parts of the body. Loose fit can result in injury or ejection.

Option: Buckle the child into their booster seat then add their jacket by inserting their arms into the sleeves and wearing it backwards. Or cover them with a blanket.

• Drivers and older passengers:
Safety belts need to be snug across the hips and collarbone to provide the best protection. Heavy coats can interfere with correct fit and allow the safety belt to be too loose or not contact the strongest parts of the body. Loose fit can result in injury or ejection.

Option: Wear a lighter coat in the vehicle and put the heavier one on when leaving the vehicle.

Warming up the car before a trip can help. Passengers can wear coats but be sure that the
child is secured in the harness system, or safety belt before you add heavy coats or blankets. A little creativity can help protect drivers and passengers in winter driving.