Puffy coats or snow suits look cute but should not be worn in car seats, experts say. During an accident, this clothing is flattened by impact and may allow the seat's straps to loosen so that your child slips out – a dangerous combination when on the road.
Follow These Winter Safety Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Keep the infant carrier inside your home to keep it warmer when not in use.
- Get an early start to warm up your vehicle and allow enough time to dress your baby or toddler in layers.
- Dress your child in thin layers. Generally, infants should wear one more layer than adults. If you have a hat and a coat on, your infant will probably need a hat, coat, and blanket. (See related tips below)
- Keep baby warm with a hat, socks, mittens and booties.
- If your child sucks fingers or thumbs, consider half-gloves with open fingers or keep an extra pair or two of mittens handy. Wet mittens make your child colder rather than warmer.
- Pack a bag of extra clothes and blankets, in case of emergency.
- Tighten straps so they fit snugly. You should be able to fit a finger underneath, but you should not be able to pinch any excess.
- Make sure the top layer is removable so the baby doesn’t get too hot after the car warms up.
- Forget hats, mittens, and socks or booties. These help keep kids warm without interfering with car seat straps.
- Cover baby's face.
- Use any accessories that did not come with the car seat. Only use car seat covers that go over the baby.
- Use a car seat cover if it has a layer under the baby. Nothing should ever go underneath your child's body or between her body and the harness straps.
- Use items that didn't come with the car seat. It has not been crash tested and may interfere with the protection provided in a crash.
- Use sleeping bag inserts or other stroller accessories in the car seat.
How to Layer Up
- Start with close-fitting layers on the bottom, like tights, leggings and long-sleeved bodysuits.
- Add pants and a warmer top, like a sweater or thermal-knit shirt.
- Your child can wear a thin fleece jacket over the top.
- In very cold weather, long underwear is also a warm and safe layering option.
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