CONSUMER REPORTS: Winter coat and car seat safety

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(KKTV) - Consumer Reports’ Child Passenger Safety Experts say that the extra bulk of a winter coat can make the safety seat harness too loose to properly secure your child in the event of a crash.

Jennifer Stockburger, the Director of Operations for Consumer Reports Auto Test explains, “Even when you think the straps are tight, all the air that’s contained in a winter coat will compress in a crash, meaning that the harness may actually be too loose. A loose harness may allow the child to ride up or come outside the protection of the car seat shell, putting them a higher risk of injury.”

Check if your child’s coat is too puffy by first securing her into the car seat wearing their coats so there is no slack in the harness straps. Then remove the coat and put him back in the seat and see if the straps are loose.

Instead of wearing a coat in their seat, Consumer Reports recommends securing your child into the seat and then putting a blanket or coat on top of the harness. For older kids put their coat sleeves on backwards after they are harnessed.

Along with these tips, Consumer Reports suggests you periodically go to a car-seat checkup event to make sure your child’s seat is properly installed.