North Memorial Safety Expert Shares Advice on Winter Car Seat Safety
As the weather gets colder, Minnesotans are not strangers to bulky winter coats.
But experts are warning that coats and car seats are not a safe match.
“We know how people are injured and do a variety of things to prevent injury so that people don’t have to come and see us at the hospital,” said Sheila Nesbitt, the trauma outreach and prevention coordinator at North Memorial Health in Robbinsdale.
She also works with the Safe Kids Minnesota to hold workshops and information sessions to keep families informed about safety and car seats. That work extends to car seat safety, particularly in the winter time.
“In winter, we want to be careful about bulky clothing and how that might affect how a car seat or seatbelt fits,” Nesbitt said.
Nesbitt does demonstrations using baby dolls and car seats to show the difference between a winter coat under and over a harness.
“That crash could move the harness and cause it to hit the baby across a soft part of the body,” Nesbitt demonstrated.
Nesbitt said in an accident, puffy coats can deflate. She recommends buckling the baby in securely without a coat, then putting a hat, mittens and blanket on over top.
“For this baby, we have buckled her safely in her carseat,” Nesbitt said, showing a second, safer example. “Then we bundled the warm clothing on top.”
This advice also applies to bigger kids in car seats.
See also: Child Passenger Safety