Written by Officer Jeff Kirchman
Hopefully everyone has prepared themselves and their vehicles for the cold Wisconsin winters, but is your child winter- and car-safe? It is important to strike the balance between keeping our kids warm and also safe while buckled in their car seat when driving this winter.
Bulky coats, especially the puffy ones that have a slick outer shell, can create too much space between your child and their safety harness. This space may cause a child to literally fall out of their safety seat in the event of an accident. In a crash air gets squeezed out of bulky winter wear leaving the harness too loose and therefore unsafe.
So when you get your kids ready for the next car trip this winter consider these tips:
1. Warm up your car prior to bringing the kids to the car.
2. Dress your child warmly, but remove their winter coat prior to strapping them into their car seat.
3. Have your child wear their thinner fall or spring jacket as a “travel coat” when buckled in their car seat.
4. Drape their winter jacket over them to keep them warm during the car ride.
5. If their “travel coat” has a hood be sure to put it up on their head to further reduce the bulk behind them and ensure a proper fit.
6. Keep blankets or extra clothing in the car for emergencies.
It is important our kids are safe when traveling this winter, both warm and securely fastened in their car seats. Be sure to take these few extra steps to ensure both are happening.
University Apartments Community Police Officer, Natural Areas Liaison
University of Wisconsin – Madison Police Department
Office: University Apartments Community Center
611 Eagle Heights Drive, Room 104H