Winter advice: Buckle up when bundled up

| 22 Feb 2012 | 07:47

    Child passenger safety tips for winter months Fact: Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for all children between ages 2 and 14. Fact: Car seats reduce the risk of death significantly - as much as 71 percent for infants and about 54 percent for toddlers. Fact: Up to 82 percent of infant car seats are installed wrongly, increasing the risk of severe injury or mortality if an accident occurs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, proper use of a child safety seat is the best protection you can give your child when traveling by car. When a child is dressed for the cold winter months, it may be a challenge to properly buckle in a little one for safety. Allstate Insurance Company is offering timely tips to ensure that parents are correctly buckling up their child when their child is bundled up. “Thick winter coats or snowsuits can change the way a child fits into a car seat,” says Krista Conte, Allstate spokesperson in New York. “For car seats or booster seats to function properly, the straps need to remain tight against the child’s chest. The filling of a thick coat may compress in an accident, making secure looking straps loose.“ Check list Allstate Insurance Company and Heather Corley, of Baby Products Guide, offer an easy way for parents to test their child’s winter coat or infant snowsuit to see if they are too thick to be safe in a car seat. Take the car seat into the house. Put the winter coat or snowsuit on the child. Put the child in the car seat and buckle the harnesses as you normally would before car travel. Adjust the straps to the appropriate fit for your child. Take the child out of the car seat without loosening the straps at all. Take the coat off your child. Put the child back in the car seat and buckle the harnesses again, but do not tighten the straps. If you can fit more than two fingers under the harness at the child’s shoulder bone, the coat is too thick and is not safe for use with the car seat.