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Car Seats and Winter Coats: The Real Danger

Photograph by Getty Images

As temperatures start dropping around the nation and we start bundling our little ones up in their adorable puffy coats, it's also important that we remember some basic car seat safety that often gets forgotten in the colder months.

As a general rule, children should never be buckled in their car seat with bulky jackets on as it can cause the straps to be too loose to be effective in a crash. We get it, it's totally a pain to have to repeatedly zip your child in and out of their jacket, but as they say, safety first.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Bulky clothing, including winter coats and snowsuits, can compress in a crash and lead to increased risk of injury."

Not sure if your kid's jacket is too bulky or not? It's not too hard to figure it out.

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First, strap your child into the car seat with their jacket on and tighten the harness as you would normally. Then, without loosening the straps, take your child out of the car seat and remove their jacket. Again, leave the harness exactly as it was, and strap them back in without their jacket. If you can pinch any of the harness webbing on the shoulder area between your fingers, the jacket was too bulky.

Remember, if your child cannot be safely buckled into their car seat with their jacket on, just take the jacket off. Cover them with a blanket to keep them warm or put the jacket on backwards with their arms in the sleeves AFTER they've been buckled in. Alternatively, you can place a lightweight sweater on them before buckling them in.

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