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2 Your Well Being: Winter clothes and car seat safety

Did you know bulky coats and clothes can reduce a child's safety in a car seat?

Any time you put kids in the car - you're thinking safety. And depending on their size, they're going to use a car seat. But in the wintertime, that big coat can get in the way of a safe seat.

We spoke with Cone Health's Injury Prevention Coordinator, Leigha Jordan, for the tips to keep your little ones safe this winter.

Bulky winter coats and clothes cause a specific problem in car seats. Thick, fluffy winter coats and clothing should not be worn underneath the harness of a car seat because they can prevent a snug fit of the harness. In a car crash, the clothing will flatten out because of all the air inside it leaving the harness too loose and leading to injury.

Experts suggest layers as the best way to dress children in the winter. Start with close-fitting layers on the bottom, like tights, leggings and long-sleeved bodysuits. Then add pants and a warmer top like a sweater or thermal-knit shirt. Thin fleece can be added over top. Add hats, mittens, socks or booties. A good rule of thumb is that infants wear one more layer than adults.

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Here's what Leigha says parents need to remember so kids are secured safely in the car seat. Tighten the straps of the harness until they are snug and you cannot pinch the webbing. Place a blanket over the harness—never in-between the harness and child. Older kids can put their coat on backward. Store the car seat carrier inside the house when not in use so it will already be at room temperature. Pack an emergency bag for your car. Keep extra blankets, clothing, hats and gloves and non-perishable snacks in your car in case of an emergency.

For more information go to www.safeguilford.com and click “Child Passenger Safety.”

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