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carseatAs we head into December, we brace for the colder than normal weather that is forecasted this year.The t-shirts and shorts have been put away, replaced by toasty sweaters and winter coats. If you are a parent of a small child, you may have prepared for the expected wintry weather by purchasing heavy coats and snowsuits to ensure your little one stays warm. But what many parents don’t realize is that winter clothing that is supposed to keep their child safe from harsh weather may actually be exposing them to serious harm in the event of a car accident.

Securing Your Child Properly

The purpose of car seats is to keep a child from being thrown in the event of any type of collision. Seats are designed with a harness that fits over the child and fits snugly, securing the child in the seat. Normally, parents put the child in the seat and then tighten the straps so there is no slack in the straps. Failure to tighten the straps enough leaves could result in the child being flung from the seat in the event of a crash.

In the winter months, the majority of parents place the child in the seat when they have their bulky, winter coat or snowsuit on. The then place the harness over the child and tighten the straps. But they are fitting the straps over heavy coat and this leaves the child at risk. The bulkiness in winter coats is air that can compress in a crash. If this happens, there can be enough space between the harness straps and the child that they now get thrown out of the seat during impact.

There is a way that parents can test to see if the coat their child wears is putting them at risk. Place your child in the seat with their coat on and snap the harness in place. Tighten the straps so there is no slack. You should not be able to pinch any of the strap webbings. Without loosening the strap, unbuckle the harness and remove your child. Take off his or her coat and then back into the seat. Buckle the harness and check for any slack in the strap webbing. If there is, then the coat you have for your child is too bulky and could be dangerous for your child if there is an accident.

Most winter coats are just too thick for car seats. Safety advocates recommend parents place their children in car seats without winter coats and then have the child wear the coat backward. A blanket kept in the vehicle can also help keep children warm and you’ll have peace of mind knowing your child is safe.

Contact a Virginia Injury Attorney

Unfortunately, no matter how much you try to avoid it, car accidents happen to most of us eventually. If you have been injured in a crash, contact a Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal options you may have against the driver who caused the crash.

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