HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Because of the cold weather, many are bundling up, especially infants. However, experts say it could be a safety concern when using a car seat.
“The harness straps need to be tight and straight across the baby’s body or the child’s body, and when you insert the jacket into the equation, it creates a gap in between the harness and the child. And it makes it easier for the child to slip out of that jacket and come out of the seat even though they are strapped in,” said Kara Thorp, The American Automobile Association (Triple-A) Public Relations Specialist.
According to Thorp, car crashes are one of the most common accidents throughout the United States. Adding, many car accidents have caused injuries to children that could have been prevented.
Thorp understands wearing puffy jackets or coats during cold temperatures seems like the easiest thing to do. However, she says there are safer alternatives.
“Put them in the seat without a jacket and once they are buckled in you can put the jacket on top of them or you can put a blanket over the top. You can even put them in the jacket backwards you know hands through the arms so that it doesn’t slip off. You can warm up the car before putting the child in the car and so it’s not as uncomfortable without the jacket,” she said.
Thorp says the she would like everyone to be aware of the following:
- seat belt regulation applies to anyone younger than the age of eight
- children under the age of two should always ride rear-facing in the backseat at all times
- backseat and rear-facing seating for children under two is the safest way to prevent a neck injury
The Rio Grande Valley community is encouraged to visit Safekids.org for further information on child passenger safety seats.