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EYE ON PARENTING: Experts share winter car seat safety tips

DULUTH, MN- This time of year we often see parents bundling up their children before heading out the door but according to safety officials, all of that bundling could possibly be hurting more than helping.

John Parenteau, North East Minnesota Child Passenger Safety Liaison remembers his parents bundling him up in multiple layers of clothing during the winter months.

“That’s part of growing up with your big puffy winter jacket sliding down the hill,” said Parenteau.

As often as the season’s change, so do the rules.

“When it comes to riding in the car you’re going to want to stick to thinner clothing,” said Parenteau.

Even though it’s not the law, Parenteau says the organization is urging parents to not let their children wear thick coats in car seats.

“We have two concerns about that, one is that the harness is made to work on the child and you don’t want too much interference between the harness and the child. The second is once it starts warming up in the car your child is going to start over hearting,” said Parenteau.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, bulky coats like these and snowsuits can compress in a car crash, leaving the straps too loose.

“If there was too much interference between the harness and the child, the child could slip out of the big puffy winter jacket and then slip out of the car seat and then be injured in the crash,” said Parenteau.

Parenteau says there are some things parents can do instead, like getting an early start.

“For one thing we have remote starts on our vehicles now. So most people start their vehicle and let it warm up before they enter the vehicle,” said Parenteau.

The big question is, what can children wear?

“One to two thin layers of clothing on the child and then a blanket over the top of the child,” said Parenteau.

This way you’ll have control over their climate and safety.

There are also special coats you can buy for your children to wear while in the car seat. The coat is designed to go over the harness to keep baby safe and warm.

Lyanne Valdez

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