Wintertime Car Seat Safety

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- With the cold weather on the way, keeping your kids bundled up this winter is as important as keeping them buckled up in their car seat.

It is important for parents to keep in mind that with the extra layers of clothing, such as jackets and snow suits, that they're putting on their kids, fitting into car seats presents a potential safety hazard.

Experts say when you strap kids into their seats, the restraints end up holding the extra layers of clothing in and not so much the child.

In an accident, this could lead to an ejection of whoever is sitting in the seat.

"Even if you have the harness as tight as you think it can go, a jacket like this compresses really easy. In an accident, it's going to fold and that void of space that was filled by the jacket leaves a lot of room for the child to get injured. I really just don't want to see people injured. That could be the difference between someone being perfectly fine and having a bad injury. It's just a simple thing to fix," said Ariel Rodriguez, a safety seat technician.

She said while the danger is real, there are steps you can take to make sure it doesn't happen.

"Something you can do instead of bundling your child is put thin tight layers, and then you can put their coat on backwards once you've buckled them in. Kind of put their arms through the arm holes, or you can use blankets. A lot of that problem can be resolved by just heating up your car, which is good anyways, because then the car seat will be nice and warm," said Rodriguez.

Remember to dress your kids in enough layers under their coat that would keep them warm in 50 degree weather.

When you get to the car, take the coat off and strap them in leaving no more than a finger's width under the shoulder strap's slack.

As a reminder, you should never leave a child locked in a car without the heat running as cold weather sets in.


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