Authorities warn puffy coats and car seats can pose a safety hazard

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Wisconsin health officials are warning families about the danger of children wearing puffy coats while sitting in a car seat.

According to Aspirus Health, the extra padding found in many puffy coats will compress during a crash, causing the car seat harness to loosen. The extra four inches of slack in the straps can greatly increase a child’s risk of injury.

“The trick is finding the perfect balance between keeping toddlers warm and safe in their car seats,” said Amanda Tabin, coordinator of Aspirus Health Safe Kids & Injury Prevention. “Consider dressing them in thin layers, hats, mittens, socks or boots, and using the coat or a blanket over the car seat straps.”

Safe Kids Wisconsin suggests using this simple locker to ensure a car seat is secure:

Step 1: Put the coat on your child.

2nd step: Sit them in the car seat. Buckle and tighten the harness.

Step 3: Without loosening the harness, unfasten it and remove your child from the car seat.

Step 4: Take off the coat.

Step 5: Secure your child in the car seat without adjusting the straps. If the harness is too loose, the coat is too thick to wear under the harness.

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Susan W. Lloyd