Are bulky clothes putting your child’s life at risk? How to stay safe in a car seat this winter
“Bulk jackets create the illusion that your child is securely strapped into their car seat when the opposite is true.” Photo: Getty Images
The National Road Traffic Act states that children under the age of three must be in a car seat, and children between the ages of three and 14, or 1.5 meters tall, must be in a car seat. there is one available, but the Automobile Association (AAA) reports that a third of children still travel without one.
This is despite studies showing that if a car seat is correctly installed and used by children aged 0 to 4, it can reduce the need for hospitalization after a road accident by 69%.
But there’s more to car seat safety than just making sure your child is buckled up in their seat…
Did you know that when you place your child in a car seat with a bulky winter jacket, the consequences can be disastrous? As the weather is getting colder now, parents are heading to school and activities with their children snugly wrapped up in winter jackets, but there is a connection between car seats, winter jackets and the safety of their children.
Lily: A third of children still travel without any restraints in the car
The illusion of security
Bulky jackets create the illusion that your child is safely strapped into their car seat when the opposite is true, says Seugnette van Wyngaard, head of 1st for Women Insurance.
“If you tighten your child’s harness around a thick jacket, that jacket will compress in a crash, making the harness loose and increasing the risk of injury,” she explains.
“The problem with a thick jacket is that the harness can feel tight on the child when there is too much space created by the soft fabric between the jacket and the child.” Avoid this by making sure your child only wears clothes they would wear inside your home.
Their harness should be securely fastened and as tight as possible, while parents of children in booster seats should also do everything possible to avoid extra slack in the harness.
Wyngaard also notes “When choosing a seat, it is important to choose one that matches the weight of your child. If a child is restrained in the wrong system for their age or weight, or if the straps or harnesses are not properly secured or completely undone, it will put the child at increased risk of fatal and non-fatal injury.”
Another mistaken belief many parents have is that it is safe to hold their baby in their arms or keep their child on their lap in the car, but this is not true.
Research has shown that passengers have less than half a second to react to a crash or sudden stop, and an adult is unlikely to be able to restrain a child during that time.
Follow these tips to increase car seat safety:
1. Check your child’s clothes before buckling their seatbelt and make sure they are not wearing more than inside.
2. Make sure your child is secure in their car seat – comfortable but not too much room for their body to move side to side or back and forth.
3. Use the pinch test to make sure your child’s harness is properly attached.
Step 1: Keep the winter jacket oversized and strap your child into their car seat. Tighten your harness as you normally would for travel.
2nd step: Unfasten the harness and, without loosening it, take your child out of the car seat.
Step 3: Remove their jacket and place them back in the car seat, buckling the harness one more time. Check its tightness.
Once buckled, you should not be able to pinch the strap at the shoulder. When the harness is snug, your fingers should slip out of the saddle when you try to tighten it. You will need to tighten the harness even more so that it is snug enough to fit your child properly.
Read also : Top tips for keeping children safe at school and at home
4. Use his jacket as a blanket instead. This is done by turning the jacket inside out and putting it inside out with the arms through the armholes.
5. Do not place anything under your child in the car seat or between your child and the harness.
6. Check that the straps are not twisted, as this could reduce the effectiveness of the harness in the event of a collision.
7. If you’re buying a used car seat, only do so if you know its history or if it’s from a good source. Do not purchase or use a seat that has been involved in an accident or has worn straps, buckles or attachment points.
8. Set a good example as a parent and always buckle up.
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