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Winter coats in car seats may put your child at risk of ejection

With a coat on, Petit says the bulk can add two to four inches of excess space between the seat belt and your child’s body.
Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 5:53 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - With near freezing temperatures this Winter, parents are doing their best to bundle up their children before heading out. But, when it comes to strapping little ones into safety seats, bulky Winter coats can be very dangerous.

“You want to make sure the harness is snug enough, you can’t fold any excess, you can’t pinch more than an inch, because if so that would lead to possibly ejection,” said Brianna Petit, who is the Child Safety Seat Technician with the Harrisonburg Fire Department.

She says, car crashes are the leading cause of death among children. With a coat on, Petit says the bulk can add two to four inches of excess space between the seat belt and your child’s body. In the event of a crash, the coat would compress making it easy for your child to slip out.

”We recommend taking the jacket off and then harnessing the child,” Petit said. “Another alternative is to actually do a backwards coat method, and you can put the coat on backwards over the child over top of the harness.”

Petit also suggests dressing your child in layers of clothing instead of a big coat, or tucking a blanket around them to keep them warm.

She says, it is also smart to start your car ahead of time, allowing it to warm up before you strap your child in.

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