Living in Manitoba means winter is quickly approaching. Fortunately there is currently no snow on the ground….at this minute. We have had a couple little flurries already but nothing that has stayed. This only means that snow will be here soon to stay. And with snow – there is also lower temperatures. Currently we are hanging out around the freezing mark. Come the middle of winter though it is not unheard of to get to -40c (or colder). As the seasons start changing, our clothing starts to change. It seems like we are already pulling out the sweaters, hats, mitts, and jackets. With all this extra gear it’s also a good time to have a reminder about winter car seat safety. It is VERY important to remember that bulky jackets are NOT made to go into child car seats.
For some people you may have a insulated garage that you park in. In that case it’s easy to keep your vehicle warm and transfer your child(ren) into their seat without needing the big jackets. If this isn’t an option for you, as it sure isn’t an option for me, there are other things that can be done. Once I have everything pretty much ready to go I start my vehicle. It gives the van a chance to warm up a little before we go outside. We wear our winter jackets out to the van and get inside. Jackets are taken off and we buckle into the seats. On the really cold days we then put the jackets on backwards over the straps. Other times the van has warmed up enough to take the chill off and the children don’t complain. There are car seat ponchos available for purchase also. They are an over-sized piece of fleece with a hole in the top for the head but they don’t go between the body and the straps. They are made to cover the chest (over the straps) and the arms. You can also use a thin sweater. My younger children both have fleece sweaters that they wear out to the vehicles and can wear within their seats.
The best way to know if a sweater is to thick is place your child in the seat without the sweater and do up their straps properly. Undo the straps (without loosening them) and put the sweater on. You then put the straps back on and do them up. If they still fit properly you are ok. Otherwise, if you are having to fight with straps or loosen them at all the sweater is to bulky. I am sure there are parents out there who feel that they have their straps tight enough with the jacket in so it will be ok. Please keep in mind that in an accident the jacket compresses. If the straps are not tight against the body like their are supposed to be, they will not work. It is not unheard of for a child to not be held within the car seat in the case of an accident because their was compression in their jackets which meant the straps were not tight enough.
Please remember when preparing to enjoy this winter weather to stay safe while staying warm!!
We would love to hear your thoughts on carseat safety.