With the temperatures in Tulsa predicted to be below freezing in the mornings next week in Tulsa, I thought it was a good time to review a few car seat safety rules. You may be wondering what freezing temperatures have to do with car seats. It does seem like a strange tie-in, but there’s some logic involved, I promise!
When it’s cold outside, it’s only natural to bundle our kids (and grandkids) up before we rush to the car. But before you strap them in the car seat or booster seat, take their coat off! It goes against my instinct to take a coat off a cold kid, but once I understood why, I also understood the importance. It feels like the car seat is nice and snug when you strap your child into the seat wearing their winter coat, but the impact of a crash will flatten the coat fabric and leave a dangerous gap between the child and the seat harness. The space will allow a child to slip through the straps and possibly be ejected from the car. It’s a hassle to take their coat off, there is no denying that fact, but the more important reality is that your child’s life is worth the extra time it takes to remove the coat before strapping them into the seat.
If I didn’t convince you to take a few extra minutes to remove your child’s coat before putting them in their car seat, please watch this video from the Today Show. It is dramatic, and it made an impression on me!
So what are you supposed to do to keep your kid warm enough when the weather dips into the twenties and thirties? If you’re lucky and have a garage, your car won’t be quite as cold, but many of us don’t have that luxury. One recommendation is to put a blanket on the child over the car seat straps. This isn’t a good idea for an infant, as they could be at risk for suffocation if the blanket becomes stuck over their face. For an older child, maybe put their coat on backward after they have been buckled into their seat. Don’t forget to use mittens and hats to have a warming layer that doesn’t interfere with the car seat straps. Also, ensure you have warming supplies in your car all winter just in case of an emergency. Keep dry clothes, blankets, non-perishable snacks, a bottle of water, hats, and gloves. Always make sure your phone is charged in case you need emergency assistance. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a more thorough list of winter travel safety tips; click here to read.
While we’re talking about car seat safety, it’s always good to review the basics. I’m not so old that I didn’t use car seats for my children, but by the time my grandchildren were born, the rules had changed, and I needed a refresher course. The first time I took my grandson on an outing, I posted a picture of him in his car seat. I was fortunate that a concerned friend privately messaged me and told me I had positioned the chest strap too low. I was thankful and corrected it immediately. Here are some guidelines for car seat safety.
In parenting, there are some gray areas. Some days you let some things slide. Maybe you let the kids have dessert first or give them an extra hour of screen time. It’s OK; most of us have occasionally given in to the demands of our captors, I mean kids. However, being properly restrained in the car is one of the rules that should never be compromised. Your child’s life may be saved because of being properly secured in a car seat.
Welcome to Grand Life, the TulsaKids blog that explores the wonderful adventures of grandparenting! Join me and my grandchildren as we explore interesting activities and visit family friendly sites in Tulsa. This blog shares the joys and challenges of grandparenting as well as the various roles grandparents play in their grandchildren’s lives.
When I’m not doting on my grandchildren, I love to read, write, and compete in open water swims and triathlons. Please visit my author website for news of my upcoming book release, dianemorrowkondos.com. I’m also on Instagram @tulsakidsgrandlife.
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