In colder weather, experts warn against winter coats in car seats

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Emergency responders want to remind parents and guardians of the right way to fasten children in car seats this winter.

Crash test simulations often show the effects a loose harness can have on a child restrained in a car seat in a vehicle involved in an accident. According to firefighters with the Lexington Fire Department, those loose harnesses might happen more frequently and the reason is winter clothing.

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They say articles like puffy winter coats can give a false sense of security when you’re checking to see if your child is nice and snug.

“That big bulky coat is not going to allow the 5-point harness to get as tight as it needs to be,” says firefighter Greg Gerton. He took time Thursday to demonstrate a proper harness for ABC 36 News crews. “That material can compress and cause the child to slide out of the harness.”

ABC 36 Doc-On-Call and Lexington Fire Department Medical Director, Dr. Ryan Stanton elaborates on the situation.



“What we want to do is dissipate energy through the seat and through the car, not through the body itself So, with this in place it may seem tight but there’s actually a couple of inches of room underneath the coat until we get to the chest of the child,” he says. “That allows the child to shift, which actually puts more force on them and their internal organs. It also gives the opportunity for them to actually shift out of the car restraint itself.”

A pair of parents outside Lexington children’s store, Kid-to-Kid passed the test when we asked them if they knew about this winter weather rule.

“I have a lot of nieces and nephews and I learned that while watching my sister and brother be parents,” says one mother. Another chimes in, “Take the coat off? Absolutely. You can’t even buckle it correctly. It leaves a huge gap. You know she’s not secured correctly if the coat is on.”

Lexington firefighters also remind the public, they offer training and “how-to” lessons on installing car seats. Find out how you can sign up by callling (859) 231-5600.