CONSUMER REPORTS - In cold weather, we bundle up our children to prepare them for the elements. But a bulky coat and a car seat can be a dangerous combination. The harness might not be tight enough to secure your child in a crash. Here's how to check whether your child's coat is too big and bulky to wear under the car-seat harness.
First, put your baby in his coat and properly secure him in his car seat so there's no slack in the harness straps. Then remove the coat and put him back in the seat to see whether the straps are loose. If they are loose, in an accident, your child could ride up, putting his head outside the protection of the seat, resulting in a possible head injury.
So how can you keep your baby safe and warm in the car? Consumer Reports recommends first securing him into his seat and then putting a blanket on top of the harness.
If you have a bigger child, you can use the same test to see how much room his puffy coat puts between him and his harness. Then teach your child the trick of wearing his coat over the harness for riding in the car. Just put his arms in the sleeves and use the coat as a blanket.
In any kind of weather, Consumer Reports says always make sure that your child is properly harnessed every time. You should not be able to pinch any fabric, and his or her chest clip should always be at armpit level.
Along with those tips, Consumer Reports suggests you periodically go to a car-seat checkup event to make sure your seat is properly installed.
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(Copyright © 2016 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. All Rights Reserved.)