Car seat safety is always important, but it becomes more important than ever when we have little ones travelling in the back.
With winter looming, there's one terrifying winter car seat safety hazard that not all parents may be aware of, but is a tip so important it could save your child's life in the event of an accident. And it's all to do with the coat your little one is wearing.
Here, we explain everything you need to know about winter car seat safety and how you can protect your child from this common car seat blunder...
Avoid bulky, thick coats when your child's in their car seatThe straps of the car seat must fit snugly against your child's chest to keep them secure in the event of a crash, or if you have to brake harshly. But wrapping your kids up in thick layers means that you are creating a much bigger gap between the straps and your child's chest.
If you were to strap your child in while wearing a winter coat, and then remove their coat from under the straps, you'd find that the straps are shockingly loose, leaving enough space that could potentially mean the baby could come free from their car seat during an accident.
These alarming clips, from Good Egg Child Safety's YouTube video, demonstrates the horrifying gap your child's coat could be creating between them and their all-important car seat straps
At first glance, this image of a child strapped into her car seat whilst wearing her coat doesn't appear out of the ordinary
But after removing the coat, you can see the gap the padding had cerated between her and her car seat, rendering it far less effective in the event of a crash
Watch the video in full:
How to keep them warm and safeWell, whilst you might worry that they'll be too chilly without their coat on, don't forget that apart from newborns, your kids don't need to be kept any warmer than you do. Warming the car up for five minutes before you leave the house and keeping the heating on throughout the journey should keep them plenty warm enough.
Fleece jackets, under-clothing thermals and gloves are all warm, but thin enough to still enable you to settle little ones into their car seat securely.
If you're still worried, put the coat on backwards on the dash to the car, get them in their seat and remove the coat before you strap them in. For really little ones, wearing a hat and a snuggly blanket on top of the straps (not tucked under) should keep them warm, toasty and most importantly, safe.
What the experts say...Estelle Salter, Customer Care Manager for child car seats manufacturer Maxi-Cosi, says, 'When fastening your little one into their car seat you need to ensure the harness is suitably secure to your baby's body, so no thick coats or snowsuits as they will restrict how tight you can actually adjust the straps.
'Remember, 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.
'If you're worried about your little one getting cold, why not cover them with a snuggly blanket and tuck them in?'