One thing you probably do every time you get into the car is put your child in his or her car seat. You know it is required by Illinois law, but more importantly, you know it is essential to keeping your child safe in the event of a crash. Unfortunately, what you may not realize is another thing you do to keep your child safe–putting him or her in a warm winter coat–could drastically reduce the effectiveness of the car seat to keep your child safe.
Large winter coats may keep your child warm against the cold of winter, but they also prevent the car seat’s straps from fitting properly. According to Consumer Reports, when a child is wearing a puffy coat, it causes the car seat straps to need loosening. When you loosen the straps, it becomes a safety issue. In an accident, the coat compresses. The straps are then loose enough for your child to slip out and become airborne in a crash.
You should check to see if your child’s coat is too big by putting your child in the seat, adjusting the straps and then removing him or her. Now, take his or her coat off and put him or her back into the seat. If the straps are loose, then the coat should not be worn while he or she is riding in the car. Instead, you should use blankets or even put the coat on backward after putting him or her into the seat to keep him or her warm. This information is for education and is not legal advice.