Coats and car seats a dangerous combination in a crash
TRI-CITIES, Wash. — Health Officials said parents put their children at risk if they bundle them up before buckling them into a car seat.
This is because like marshmallows, children' coats are puffy, bulky and full of air.
The danger lies in how much wiggle room is created when the fluff is compressed and children slip out of their safety harness.
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Kathleen Clary-Cooke with Safe Kids Benton-Franklin said unintentional injury is the number one killer of kids in this country,
"...and the number one cause of unintentional injury is actually motor vehicle crashes."
She said properly used, cars eats can reduce the risk of a child's death by as much as 71%.
Just like seat belts, in a crash the safety seat's harness compresses to hold the child safe and snug.
To help the car seat do its job, Clary-Cooke said to dress your precious cargo in layers that stay close to the body.
Remove coats and bunting,
"With our temperatures, even though it seems really cold outside, in the 5 minutes it takes your car to warm up your child's not going to get frostbitten. It's not a serious danger to kids."
The same can't be said for improperly restrained bodies,
"It's a potentially fatal solution to a non-fatal problem. It's like bumper pads in cribs."
She said not to feel bad if this is new information because our understanding of car seat safety is constantly evolving,
"It gets confusing because what was right when my kids were little, 20 years ago, is not the right way now. So parents need to keep up."
The Safe Kids Coalition website is full of car seat tips.