Don’t let bulky coats interfere with the car seat harness.
Winter can be reminiscent of hot chocolate, cozy blankets, and warm firesides, but it can also be a tricky time when it comes to child safety.
A parent’s first priority is keeping their child safe, whether it is on the playground or in a vehicle.
While the summertime brings heat and the risk of heatstroke, winter can be just as deadly for children left in an unattended vehicle. For an adult, being exposed to wind chills of -20°F will cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes. With children being more susceptible to injury from the cold, any amount of time left in an unattended vehicle may lead to disastrous consequences.
However, leaving a child in an unattended vehicle isn’t the only danger parents should consider during the colder months. While it’s extremely important to protect your little ones from the elements, it’s equally important to make sure they are properly secured in the right car seat for their age and size with a properly fitted harness.
Cold months require heavier coats, but too much bulk can create extra room in the harness causing a loose fit, and putting the child at risk for injury in the event of a crash. Choose lightweight fleece layers instead of puffy materials to ensure a snug-fitting harness. For added warmth, cover your child with a blanket, or put a coat on backwards over the properly fitted harness. For easily referenceable graphics, visit NHTSA’s Facebook page.
While an unexpected roadside emergency is always frustrating, winter weather can also make it extremely dangerous, especially for young children who aren’t able to regulate their body temperature like adults can. Keep an emergency bag in your vehicle with items like blankets, a cell phone charger, food, and water. For a more complete list, take a few minutes to read the rest of our Winter Driving Tips.
As temperatures continue to drop to record lows across the United States, keep your family protected by always keeping safety top-of-mind. Visit NHTSA.gov/TheRightSeat for more information about car seat safety.