A new video (below) highlighting the risks of winter coats and car seats has gone viral.
Safety experts warn that not removing your child’s coat before strapping them into their car seat could pose a potentially dangerous threat.
A clip posted on YouTube by the car seat safety initiative, Good Egg, shows how a padded jacket creates a sizable distance between a kid’s body and the straps on a car seat.
A female safety demonstrator can be seen pointing out how the child’s puffy coat hides the “gap between the harness and the child,” despite the child appearing to be safe while the jacket is on.
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The woman in the video then takes the coat off the child and places her back in the car seat, showing the large gap between the harness and girl.
The bulky fabric on a winter coat makes it so that car seat harnesses can come loose if the car were to hit something.
Kevin Clifton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, told the Daily Mail that parents should manage to slide two fingers snugly beneath the straps of a car seat after their child is clipped in.
“If the harness is too loose, it won't hold the child in their seat properly if there's an impact,” Clifton told the Daily Mail.
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“It's probably natural for children to want to wrap up their children against the winter.
“The message is not to keep children in thick coats.”
Kevin Lowe, who is head of consultancy and training at the Child Accident Prevention Trust, agreed with the video’s message about winter coats.
“We support the point that's being made in the video,” he told the Daily Mail. “The most important thing is that a child car seat fits the child snugly.”
Or else, he said, “The child is definitely going to fly forward.”
“Car seats are designed to protect the neck," he added. "If the neck is snapping forward [because the harness is not tight enough], that's where the danger lies.”