Many San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County residents realize that they are luckier than a lot of Americans this time of year. As autumn turns into winter, the rest of the nation is bundling up in puffy jackets and preparing for snow, while you and your children “bundle” into heavy sweaters and rain jackets.

While you may not have to face the same harsh weather as others, you may still be affected by the dangers of wearing a coat in the car—particularly if you have young children. Studies have shown that children who are wearing coats when they are strapped into car seats are not as protected when an accident occurs, since the coat is compressed and the harness becomes too loose to restrain the child.

How Can I Tell If My Child’s Coat Is Too Thick for His Car Seat?

If you’re not sure if a coat interferes with your child’s car seat, try this simple test to check how the child would be affected in a crash:

  • Put your child in his car seat with his jacket on and fasten the straps of the harness until it is impossible to pinch any of excess of the harness straps between your thumb and forefinger.
  • Remove your child from the seat—without loosening the straps—and take his coat off.
  • Place your child back in the child seat and buckle the harness. If you can now pinch the strap, then the harness will not properly restrain the child.

How to Keep Kids in Car Seats Warm on Long Car Trips

As a rule, parents should remove any of a child’s bulky outer layers before securing them into a car seat. However, this does not mean your child should be exposed to the cold while riding in the car. Here are just a few ways parents can keep children warm in car seats this winter:

  • Cover your child with a blanket, tucking in the ends over the buckled harness.
  • Turn your child’s coat around and place it on him arms backwards during the ride.
  • Purchase some thin fleece “car coats” that your kids can keep in the car.
  • Suggest that your kids keep their hats and their gloves on until the car warms up.

As long as you’re making safety preparations, it’s always worth it to make sure your child’s car seat is properly installed and still fits him or her well enough to offer protection in a crash. For more safety updates that can help keep you and your family safe, become our friend on Facebook or Google+.

If you or your family members have been hurt in a car accident, we can help. Click the link on this page to order our free guide, 7 BIGGEST MISTAKES That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case, or call us today to set up an appointment at our office nearest you.


Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982