As a parent, your first priority is your child’s safety. During the cold winter months parents are always worrying about how to keep their children warm and healthy. Bundling them up in thick coats, boots, and hats are the best way to keep them from feeling those frosty temperatures. But for younger children, these necessities can be dangerous when buckled up in the car. Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep your little passenger safe in the winter.
When it comes to keeping your child warm in the winter, you’re going to opt for a puffy, insulated, high quality coat to do the job. But when placing them in their carseat, coats should be removed to prevent possible damage in the event of an accident. Infants strapped into harnessed car seats should wear multiple thin layers with a blanket or coat placed over the harness straps. Fluffy padding immediately flattens due to the force of a crash. This leaves extra space under the harness making it possible for them to slip out and be thrown.
Car and Booster Seats:
Depending on your child’s age and height, it’s important to buckle them in a seat that is the correct size for them. Putting them in a seat that is too big or small can be potentially dangerous. Research extensively the reviews, quality, and popularity of car seats.
Before you make the switch from a car seat to a booster seat, make sure they meet these important milestones. A child should be:
- At least 5 years old
- 40 + pounds
- Able to sit in the booster without slouching or playing with the seat belt.
There is also the option of a combination seat which will allow you to keep your child in a harness for a longer period of time. Some can be used until your child is up to 65 pounds or 49 inches tall. Booster seats are for children who have outgrown their forward facing seats. It is recommended children use forward facing seats with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat manufacturer.
Car Seat safety checks happen often either monthly or by appointment. We have attached an inspection checklist provided by the Department of Transportation. You can also opt to schedule a car seat installation with a professional who will make sure your child’s car seat is safely and properly secured in your vehicle.
We all know that children can be fussy when it comes to car rides, especially seat belts. Don’t negotiate with them about their safety belt. Be stern with them when it comes to their safety. Make sure you are buckling up as well. Children are influenced easily by your actions. If you buckle, they will likely follow in your footsteps.
Winter Car Update:
Prepare your car for when winter comes. Make sure these things are checked and replaced if necessary:
- Check your battery and replace it if necessary.
- Change your tires to ones that can handle winter conditions.
- Check your tire pressure as it will drop along with the cold temperatures outside.
- Replace wiper blades if needed and add wiper fluid designed for frigid temperatures below 30 degrees.
- Make sure your heating system works properly.
Winter Vehicle Necessities:
You should always keep these items in your car that can be used in case of an emergency, especially during the winter:
- Ice scraper/ snow brush
- Salt or sand
- Jumper cables
- First aid kit
- Spare clothes
There is a lot that goes into preparing your vehicle for winter. It can be stressful, but you will be thankful in the long run that you can safely travel with your family. Taking the extra time to ensure your child is buckled correctly and securely will grant you a peace of mind. Practice good habits, teach them how to be safe, and enjoy your time spent with your family.