Car Seat Safety: Beware the "Bundle"

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - It's just a part of reality in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan: life doesn't pause when the winter weather arrives. By now, most of us are just used to piling on the layers and heading out. The question is, on that trek, are you sure your little ones are safe?

Photo: Graco

"We know parents are doing their best, but there are so many car seats out there, they're trying to put them in a variety of cars .... sometimes it's just not the easiest," mused Gina Veres, an Injury Prevention Specialist with ProMedica Toledo Children's Hospital and Safe Kids.

Veres says, this time of year, parents are careful to bundle up their little ones to protect them from the cold, however, that creates an issue once they're strapped into car seats.

She walked Sashem Brey through a quick demonstration with our little volunteer, Charlie, to show just how dangerous that can be.

"All of that extra fluff in those coats - it's just filled with air. So, in a crash, the force is going to compress all of that air out and now allow the child to move separate from the car seat and harness," she explained. Veres went on to say that extra space means the child's body will take the brunt of force in a crash, rather than the harness or car seat. The child could then slam into something in the vehicle, or even be ejected from the seat altogether.

Safety experts say, instead, parents and caretakers should snugly strap the child into a car seat without the coat, and then drape the garment over them backwards, feeding the child's arms through the arm holes, blanket-style.

For more information on car seat safety, and to find out exactly when you should transition your child from seat to seat, head to the Safe Kids website.