One of the most important steps parents should take is to ensure that their infants and toddlers are strapped into their car seats correctly. Failure to properly restrain a child in a child safety seat can have tragic consequences. However, one of the most common mistakes people make is not realizing just how much jackets and coats on a small child can affect how safe they are in the seat. With the first day of winter arriving today in Virginia, it is important for parents to understand how heavy coats and snowsuits interfere with car seat safety. The following safety tips can help you keep your child safe in the event of a car accident.

Securing Your Child Properly

The purpose of car seats is to keep a child from being thrown in the event of any type of collision. Seats are designed with a harness that fits snuggly over the child, securing the child in the seat. Normally, parents put the child in the seat and then tighten the straps so there is no slack in the straps. Failure to tighten the straps enough could result in the child being flung from the seat in the event of a crash.

In the colder months, the majority of parents place their children in the seat when they have their bulky coat or snowsuit on. They then place the harness over the child and tighten the straps. But they are fitting the straps over a heavy coat, and this leaves the child at risk. The bulkiness of winter coats is caused by air, and that can compress in a crash. If this happens, there can be enough space between the harness straps and the child that they now get thrown out of the seat during impact.

There is a way that parents can test to see if the coat their child wears is putting them at risk. Place your child in the seat with their coat on and snap the harness in place. Tighten the straps so there is no slack. You should not be able to pinch any of the strap webbings. Without loosening the strap, unbuckle the harness and remove your child. Take off his or her coat and then back into the seat. Buckle the harness and check for any slack in the strap webbing. If there is, then the coat you have for your child is too bulky and could be dangerous for your child if there is an accident.

Most winter coats are just too thick for car seats. Safety advocates recommend parents place their children in car seats without winter coats and then have the child wear the coat backward. A blanket kept in the vehicle can also help keep children warm and you’ll have peace of mind knowing your child is safe.

Contact a Virginia Injury Attorney

If your child has been injured in a car accident, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss what legal options you may have. A skilled Virginia car accident attorney will be able to investigate the accident and determine the best legal course of action. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our legal team works diligently for each client to make sure they receive the best possible outcome for their injury case, like a $50,000 settlement for one teen who suffered serious injuries when his vehicle was hit by a school bus driver who failed to yield.

Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation.