Winter Car Seat Safety

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While cold winter weather is not typically something us Southern Californians think about often, it is important that parents and caregivers be aware of some potential safety hazards for little ones. For those of you traveling to colder climates this season, keep these winter car seat safety tips in mind!

  • While puffy winter coats and bodysuits can be great to keep children warm in cold weather, they pose a threat when worn in a car seat.
    • As you can see in the photos below, the child is wearing a puffy winter coat (left image) with her car seat straps appearing tight. HOWEVER, when the coat is removed (right image) you can see how much space is between the child’s chest and her car seat’s straps
      • In an accident, puffy winter coats and bodysuits will deflate on impact leaving the child vulnerable
  • Tips for Staying Warm & Safe
    • Store the carrier portion of infant seats indoors when not in use to avoid placing your little one onto a chilly seat
    • Clothing:
      • Dress your child in thin, warm layers and keep non-bulky items like hats, mittens/gloves, and socks on in cold temperatures
      • NOTHING should be placed BETWEEN your child and the car seat (back cushion or straps)
        • Safe options include:
          • A blanket or coat placed OVER the top of the buckled straps of the car seat
          • A poncho-style coat/jacket
            • Easy-to-remove items are best as the car often gets warm after a while
      • To ensure a snug fit, check the straps tightness by trying to pinch it.
        • If you can pinch it, it is not snug enough and needs to be tightened!
    • Have an emergency bag prepared in the car with:
      • Extra blankets, dry clothes/socks/gloves, and shoes
      • Non-perishable snacks

As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding winter car seat safety for your child, please contact your pediatrician. Here is a helpful link from the American Academy of Pediatrics:


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