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Roadside Chat - Feeling chilly? Cozy up to your seat belt

02/25/2022

2-25 feeling chillyIt’s getting to be that time of year when many of us are getting a bit tired of the cold. Sweaters and fuzzy socks will soon give way to tank tops and flip flops, but until then, whenever you’re driving, you can cozy up to your seat belt.

Car seat straps serve as the seat belt for young children. But because they don’t retract like adult seat belts, they need to be as tight as possible all the time. Did you know heavy coats can cause issues for the proper fit of car seat straps making them ineffective and dangerous in a crash?

In a crash, the violent force that’s created by the impact compresses the bulky coat layers and can throw a child forward against the straps. Even if the child remains in the seat, there is a risk of injury to the chest, head, and neck. Car seat straps don’t retract like adult seat belts, so they need to be as tight as possible when you buckle your child.

NHTSA winter car seat postTo test if a coat is too thick for a car seat:

  1. Strap your child into the seat with a coat on.
  2. Undo the straps without loosening them and remove the coat.
  3. Re-fasten the straps and see if there’s enough room to fit your hand in between the straps and your child.
  4. If there’s room for your hand, the coat is too thick to wear in the car seat.

If you are worried about your child being too cold, cover your child with a blanket or put the coat on them backward with their arms through the sleeves after you strap them in snugly. Loose blankets are not recommended for young infants under 1 year of age who may not be able to get the blanket off his/her face.

Check out this “Rossen Reports” about kids, coats, and car seats - https://www.today.com/video/car-seat-alert-a-winter-coat-could-endanger-your-child-43442757914

So far in 2022, there have been 29 deaths in traffic crashes. That’s an increase of five since last Friday. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at https://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/stats/daily.pdf


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Iowa highway in the evening