Experts Say Winter Coats and Car Seats a Dangerous Combination

car seats, DuPage County personal injury attorneyChilly winter weather has parents bundling up their babies and toddlers before heading outside. Unfortunately, the coats designed to keep them warm can actually pose a danger if they are going to be riding in a car seat, especially in the unlikely event of a crash. Because of this, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has issued a warning for this winter: remove the coat before buckling up, every time, and every ride.

Bulky Coats Hinder Proper Restraint Practices

Winter coats, which are big and bulky, can create slack in the restraint system, even if it appears to be snug. This can put the child at risk of being ejected from the seat in the course of an accident. Remedy this issue by simply removing your child’s coat before strapping them in. You can use blankets or cover them with the coat once they are strapped in to keep them warm.

The Right Size Car Seat Matters

In addition to removing a child’s coat, parents should ensure they have the right size seat for their child. Infant carriers, which are great during the first few months of life, should be switched out for a convertible car seat once your child exceeds the height and weight limit of the infant carrier. Continued use past this point can put your child at risk of injury or mortality in an accident.

Know How to Install a Car Seat Correctly

Car seats can only effectively protect your child if they are installed correctly. Follow these basic installation rules to keep your child safe:

  • Keep your child in the rear-facing position until they are at least two years of age;
  • If possible, install your child’s seat in the middle seat of the vehicle;
  • Use the LATCH system to secure the car seat whenever possible;
  • If use of the LATCH system is not possible and you are using a seatbelt with a shoulder strap, use the included locking clip to secure the seat belt;
  • Ensure the car seat cannot move up, down, left, or right more than an inch once fully installed;
  • Use the built-in angle indicator when installing rear-facing seats;
  • Follow all weight and height requirements for your child’s car seat;
  • If using an infant carrier, lower the handle when driving;
  • Always place children in the back seat; and
  • Visit a local police or fire station if you still need assistance.

Child Injured in an Automobile Accident?

Sadly, children can still be injured or killed in an automobile accident, even if their parents follow all of the recommendations. Sometimes, it is a matter of a defective car seat, LATCH system, or automobile. When this happens, parents have the right to seek compensation for the injuries or wrongful death sustained by their child. In other cases, it may be due to the severity of the accident.

The team at Martoccio & Martoccio can help you pursue compensation if you or your child were injured because of another driver’s negligence. We will provide aggressive representation and fight for the best interests of you and your child. Learn more by scheduling a free initial consultation with our skilled DuPage County automobile accident attorneys. Call 630-932-9100 today.

Sources:

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/why_winter_coats_and_car_seats_are_a_dangerous_combination

http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/install-child-seat.php

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