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Winter Child Carseat Safety

We won’t be having a White Christmas this year due to warmer than normal temperatures this week, but that doesn’t mean the winter weather won’t soon return.

When you bundle up your little ones to head out the door, the Missouri State Highway Patrol wants to remind you to make sure you take those big puffy coats off of them before buckling them into their carseat.

Sgt. John Lueckenhoff tells us why.

“All of those seats are tested with child and baby dummies not wearing big, heavy coats. They were only in their normal clothing. So because of that, that’s the way that seat was designed.”

Lueckenhoff says you can’t truly tighten the straps enough to keep your kiddos safely strapped in their seat in the event of a car accident.

“You need to remove that big, bulky clothing, whether its snow pants and a coat, or just a coat, or a big blanket. You can still leave a sweatshirt, or something not that thick.”

Sgt. Lueckenhoff says a light jacket is also okay. He advises warming up your vehicle ahead of time, if you can, but after removing the bulky coat, strap the child in their seat, and then lay their coat over them or wrap a blanket around them.

News Talk KZRG also asked if the same rules applied to adults.

“Again, if it’s a big, puffy coat- you are safer with that coat off of you. You are safer allowing that seatbelt to do it’s job.”

A couple of other reminders Lueckenhoff wants you to be aware of regarding child carseats:

  • In a rear-facing carseat, the straps need to be just above the child’s shoulder.
  • In a forward-facing carseat, the straps need to be just below the child’s shoulder.
  • The crotch strap need to be snug.
  • A five-point harness carseat should be taught enough that you cannot pinch strap material.

Listen to our full interview with Sgt. John Lueckenhoff.

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