Winter coats pose danger in car seats

Published: Nov. 24, 2014 at 10:52 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2014 at 12:40 AM CST
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Amarillo, TX - As the weather gets colder, safety officials are advising parents that winter coats and car seats don't mix.

Although temperatures may be dropping, officials say your child's safety weighs heavier than being cold. For many parent's fastening a child safely into their car seat is almost second nature. However, when it comes to bundling your child up for the cold weather, it's important to make sure their winter coat isn't in the way of their safety.

Trooper Chris Ray said it's important to know how to keep your child safe.

"Now when it is cold, we do know that those kids are going to be bundled up, they're going to be wearing jackets, the straps aren't going to be quite as tight," Ray said. "Parents are going to let those out, and that's when we run into a problem keeping those kids secure because they're able to wiggle out of that harness and then they're loose. And if there is a crash, the injury is going to be more substantial."

With heavy sweaters and jackets, safety officials say your child may not be strapped in properly to their car seat. The thick clothing does not allow the straps to tighten to the child's chest, creating space between them and the harness.

Another risk includes tightening the harness to your child when they are in thick clothing, and then forgetting to readjust the straps when they aren't in as thick of clothing. Ray said there are ways to make sure this doesn't happen.

"So what we recommend is go ahead and take the jacket off, and just cover them with a blanket," Ray said. "Make sure the straps do hold them in securely. But again we do recommend that you read the owners manual or go to the website for the manufacturer of that car seat, they've got some great tips."

Safety officials also recommend taking off your child's coat, turning it around and putting your child's arms in the sleeves after they have been strapped in.