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The danger of children wearing winter coats in a car seat

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Posted at 3:46 PM, Nov 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-17 17:46:15-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Children wearing heavy coats in car seats could compromise their safety, health experts said Monday morning.

There are deaths reported every year where children have been ejected from their car seats because they were wearing a bulky coat in their seat.

How does this accident happen? Experts say when the coat compresses, it leaves too much room between a child's body and the straps in their seat.

Janet Brooks, child advocacy manager at Primary Children’s Hospital, said there’s an easy way to check if a child’s coat is too big to wear under their harness.

“You place your child in the car seat, lift their heavy coat on, tighten up harness the best that you can then undo the harness take the child out. Leave harness exactly as it was, don't loosen it to get them out.

“Now take their coat off, place them back in the car seat with harness the way it was. If you can now pinch some webbing on shoulder area between your fingers you know that that's WHATS going to happen in a crash too.”

Suggestions on how to keep children safe and warm in their car seats are:

-Put their coats on backward

-Cover the child with a blanket once they are strapped in their seat

-Put a lightweight sweatshirt on them

-Brooks said not to put a child a in snow suit because that is equally as dangerous as a puffy coat.