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The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit Reminds Parents that Winter Coats and Car Seats Don’t Mix

CALEDONIA, December 18, 2014  With the winter chill in the air, it’s natural for parents to want to bundle their children up for car rides.  The Haldimand- Norfolk Health Unit would like to remind parents that what’s keeping their kids warm might not be the safest when buckling them up.

Transport Canada, which regulates all children’s car seats, tests car seats with dummies dressed in regular clothes and the tests only allow for a certain amount of space between the straps and the child. Bulky winter coats, snow suits, bunting bags and other outerwear create space (or compression) not accounted for in crash tests.  When a child is wearing a winter coat, the harness system becomes too loose and ineffective in the case of a crash or sudden stop. The risk that a child could be partially or fully ejected from the restraint increases.

Luckily, there are ways to balance safety and warmth, some of which are very simple.  If the child is older, take their coat and put their arms through it backwards over the harness.  If they are younger, tuck a blanket around them after strapping them in.  There are also several products available that go over the car seat but don’t interfere with the harness system. Always check with the car seat manufacturer before using anything added to the car seat and be sure to read the car seat’s manual.

Every year in Canada, about 10,000 children are hurt or killed on the roads. The greatest way parents can prevent this is the proper use of a car seat.

For more information, please contact the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit at 905-318-5367.

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Media Contact:

Karin Marks
Halth Promotor, Maternal and Child Health
905-318-5367