Winter Coats Pose Danger To Children in Car Seats

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LANSING (WILX) --We're always telling you to bundle up the kids in weather like this, but when it comes to the littlest ones less may actually be safer in the car.

Parents need to think twice about strapping their kids into a car seat with a puffy coat on.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina is a parent of twins, and when it comes to their safety nothing else matters.

"I'm worried every time I put them in the car. I wonder did I put the buckles on right, did I strap them down tight enough. I always keep an extra blanket in the car just in case," said Judge Rosemarie Aquilina.

On Thursday she strapped them in as tight as she could in their car seats, but little did she know that the jackets they had on were putting them in danger.

"They need to just put the child in, in their outfit. Then they should layer, layer, layer," said Mickie Kreft, with the Capital Area Safe Kids Coalition.

Coats can compress, leaving more room between the child and their seat belt. If there's an accident they're more likely to be partially ejected.

"We want as little between the child and their seat belts as possible. The more clothing between them and their seat belt and it causes the slack," said Kreft.

For big kids, putting their jacket on top of them might be the best idea.

"If you choose to leave them in a sweatshirt make sure the hood is up and not pushing them forward."

If you do decide to keep the jacket or layers on make sure the harness is as tight as possible, and that the chest clip is at armpit level. Don't let the jacket push any of the buckles down.

"It's for their own safety. I love you and I'm making this tight on you because I love you,"

For infants, parents should also be covering up the car seat before they go outside. By placing a blanket over the seat it protects the child from the wind and makes sure they're not sucking in the cold air.

Parents can go get their car seat checked at Sparrow hospital in Lansing every Tuesday from 7 am until 2 pm.
It's about a thirty minute process, but they'll make sure everything is in its place in your car.