Nov. 24, 2014
By Laura Finney
The temperatures are dropping and people are starting to bundle up.
However, bulky snowsuits could have an impact on children’s car seat safety.
“Car seats are tested with a very specific amount of padding between the child and seat that’s protecting them,” said Wayne Eva, co-ordinator for the St. John Ambulance car seat safety team and member of the York Region Child Seat Safety Coalition.
He said anything that is added between child and the seat, such as large winter clothes, can allow the child to move in the seat.
“Having them being able to move in the seat could cause potential injury,” he said.
Winter coats compress in a crash and it is important not to adjust the straps to fit a child with a snowsuit, said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, OPP media relations officer.
“In a collision, that snowsuit is not going to restrain them,” he said. “The child could slip out of the restraints if you’ve loosened it too much to accommodate the snow suit.”
To check if the straps are too loose, some experts recommend putting a child in the car seat with their winter clothes on and adjusting the straps.
Then take the child out, take the snowsuit off and put the child back into the seat.
If you can fit more than one finger under the strap at the child’s collarbone, the coat is too bulky and should not be worn with the car seat.
Thin and fleece jackets are usually okay and blankets can be placed on top of the seat’s restraints.
Eva recommended warming the car before putting the child in it.
The York Region Child Seat Safety Coalition organizes car seat safety clinics throughout the year. The next one is Nov. 29 at the King City Fire Hall and appointments are required. To book an appointment, call 905-773-3394.