A huge pet peeve of mine, is when parents/caregivers fail to properly secure their children in their car seats. Children are your most precious cargo!
Parents are too quick to forward-face their child’s car seats. Many forward facing seats can hold children up to 45 lbs (20 kg) while rear facing! Often parents will switch the direction of the car seat because their toddlers have started walking, or are 22 lbs (20 kg), or feel their child is too bored facing the back. Rear-facing is much safer, so don’t be afraid to keep your child that way as long as possible (providing they are within the manufacturer’s height and weight restrictions for rear facing).
With the cold weather setting in, we all want to make sure our little ones are bundled up, and protected from the blistering cold. In doing so, we often compromise safety in the car seat. Winter coats and snowsuits are designed to be thick, oversized and bulky to keep our babes warm; therefore, compromising the security of the harness.
Maxton was “voluntold” to demonstrate:
Here he is just sitting in his seat, with his winter coat on. His coat is clearly very bulky and I had to let the straps out a lot to accomodate it. He hated it and that was enough of that.
Here are his straps after I pulled them as tight as I could with his winter coat on. You will notice how loose they are now, even with him in a thick fleece sweater. I was able to stick my entire hand behind the chest buckle, and pull it forward.
The solution? Dress your child in a warm sweater (that’s not too bulky) and take their coat off before strapping them in. You can place their coat on backwards once they are buckled, and a blanket for extra warmth. This will make it easy for them to remove it themselves if they feel too warm. Yes, this will take extra time and you may consider it to be a pain, but it’s safer.
Test it out yourself and you can judge whether or not your child’s winter coat or snowsuit is safe for their car seat.
Here is a link for some additional safety tips and regulations in Canada.
Keep your child(ren) in car seats for as long as possible (before moving them into a booster seat), providing they are under the manufacturers height and weight restrictions.