Winter coats and car seats: what you need to know

How to make sure your child's car seat is still safe while you try and keep them warm this winter

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This time of year, it’s all too easy to forget that a thick coat can stop the harness of your child’s car seat from fitting properly. But now a video shows just how dangerous it can be.

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In the video, released by Good Egg Safety, which gives advice on car seat safety, a little girl sits in a car seat wearing a thick puffy jacket. While the harness of the car seat looks nice and tight – the jacket is actually creating an unseen gap between the harness and the child, the presenter of the video explains.

We’ve also have a video showing you the 7 vital steps to strapping your child in a car seat safely all year round, via the car seat experts at Child Seat Safety.

To demonstrate how big a gap, the girl then removes her coat and gets back in the seat – leaving a big gap between the child and the harness.

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“Leaving your child’s coat on in the car is a problem because it creates a gap between your child and their safety harness,” the Good Egg Car Safety website says.

“In a collision, the harness isn’t as close to your child’s body as it needs to be to allow it to properly restrain them.”

But, there’s an easy solution – take your child’s coat or jacket off before you strap them in to their car seat – and pull the harness tight enough so that you can just get two fingers between your child and the straps.

Keeping warm

Of course, on frosty mornings, it can be tempting to leave your child in their warm snuggly jacket, but there’s other things you can do to keep them warm instead. Good Egg recommends tucking a blanket tightly around them – once they are strapped in properly. But if you’re using this method on a baby, make sure that the blanket doesn’t come up higher than armpit level.

You can also use the car’s heating system to set a comfortable temperature – and then the blanket can easily be removed.

Car seat safety

But the main worry about car seat safety is that they are fitted properly in the first place. We recommend you get your car seat fitted by a trained car seat installation advisor (appointed by the manufacturer) if you can.  There are three ways to fit a car seat – depending on your car and the car seat you buy. We explain them all in our How to install a car seat guide.

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