YSB issues warning about coats, car seats

With the weather getting colder, the natural instinct is to bundle up kids with winter coats, hats and gloves. However, when there is an infant or young child in a child restraint, this is a dangerous combination.

“The recommendation is that nothing thicker than a sweatshirt be under the straps of the car seats,” said Ira Bencun, a nationally certified car seat technician with the Youth Services Bureau of Huntington County
The reasoning is that the material of the coat makes it appear that the straps are tight. Without the straps fitting snuggly on the child, the straps cannot do their job of helping the child come to a gentle stop during a crash. In some cases, the coat actually allows the child to slip through the straps without being unfastened.

Parents are advised to do the following. For infants, dress the child as if they are going to be indoors and place the child in the carrier. Cover the infant with a blanket and secure the carrier into the car. The blanket can be removed once the car has been warmed to a comfortable temperature. Hats can be used.
For toddlers and older children, place the child in their coat until they get in the car. Then remove the coat and fasten them into their age-appropriate car seat. The coat can then be put on backwards over the straps or a blanket can be used.

To learn more about child restraints, or schedule a free inspection, contact the Youth Services Bureau at 356-9681 or email Bencun at i.bencun@ysbofhuntingtonco.org.