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How bad is it to leave coats on in car seats?

post #1 of 157
Thread Starter 


I always take my 1 year old DS's coat off (he's RF-ing, of course), but I tend to leave my 3 YO DD's coat on. DD is 37", 36 lbs, and FF-ing in a Nautilus. Her coat adds a little to her size, but not much (ulike DS, whose coat is bulkier than he is).

I know this isn't ideal, but how un-ideal is it? Is it really unsafe, a little unsafe? On a scale of 1 - 10, maybe.
post #2 of 157
If it's anything more bulky than non-fluffy polar fleece, yeah, it's pretty dangerous. There are ways you can mitigate that, by using polar fleece, by unzipping the coat, doing up the harness and tightening and zipping the coat over it, or taking the coat off and then putting it on backwards once the harness is done up.

In an accident, all that extra material compresses, leaving the child at risk for severe head and neck injuries or in a worst case scenario ejection from the seat.
post #3 of 157
It depends on how much bulk it adds. A thinner coat is not an issue generally. A puffy one would be very, very unsafe. To reduce bulk, unzip the coat and push the flaps out th sides of the harness, then buckle. The only extra bulk will be behind them, and at their shoulders. If you tighten the harness, then unbuckle and take the coat off, re-buckle, and the harness is too loose, the coat is adding too much bulk.
post #4 of 157
IF it so incredibly dangerous then why does Canada not have higher rates of neck injuries, ejection and death for children then the US? I have lived in Canada all my life and during the winter months (2-6 month period depending where you live) I would say 90% of parents put their children -especially young ones- in winter coats (and not fleece ones). Many of there are "puffy". I have known a number of people who had car accidents and even some who died but never even heard of a child being ejected because of a puffy coat.
post #5 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spirit Dancer View Post
IF it so incredibly dangerous then why does Canada not have higher rates of neck injuries, ejection and death for children then the US? I have lived in Canada all my life and during the winter months (2-6 month period depending where you live) I would say 90% of parents put their children -especially young ones- in winter coats (and not fleece ones). Many of there are "puffy". I have known a number of people who had car accidents and even some who died but never even heard of a child being ejected because of a puffy coat.
Um, because people in the US wear coats too.

Lots of babies and children are ejected. We just had a 2 month old ejected last week!
post #6 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spirit Dancer View Post
IF it so incredibly dangerous then why does Canada not have higher rates of neck injuries, ejection and death for children then the US? I have lived in Canada all my life and during the winter months (2-6 month period depending where you live) I would say 90% of parents put their children -especially young ones- in winter coats (and not fleece ones). Many of there are "puffy". I have known a number of people who had car accidents and even some who died but never even heard of a child being ejected because of a puffy coat.
It has happened. In fact it happened very recently in Alaska although miraculously the child survived. I personally have been on the scene of an infant killed in that exact manner. However, every day children suffer injuries, often times severe, in accidents, that could have been avoided if the child was strapped in CORRECTLY.

Car crashes are the number one killer of children in the US over one. Many of those children are restrained in child restraints, but not restrained correctly.

Just because you personally don't know anyone it happened to, does not mean it doesn't happen, nor does it mean it's not a serious risk.

It is not necessary to wear a coat in a car seat, and parents, even Canadian parents, who use their child restraints correctly do not do it.
post #7 of 157
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I'm so glad you all are here to help me keep my kids safe.
post #8 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post
It is not necessary to wear a coat in a car seat, and parents, even Canadian parents, who use their child restraints correctly do not do it.
It gets to minus 30 celsius here plus windchill on a regular basis. And although I would love to I do not often have the luxury of being able preheat the car (plus to really have it warm it would need to idle for at least 15 minutes). Plus, even if the car was warm the seat itself I find to be very cold & worry about that chill getting into him from underneath.

I do have a thinner coat we use for the car & puffy snowsuit for when we're outside but I honestly find it totally unreasonable in these conditions to be undressing my baby in weather where just taking my mittens off to do up the buckles has them hurting from the cold.
post #9 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post
It gets to minus 30 celsius here plus windchill on a regular basis. And although I would love to I do not often have the luxury of being able preheat the car (plus to really have it warm it would need to idle for at least 15 minutes). Plus, even if the car was warm the seat itself I find to be very cold & worry about that chill getting into him from underneath.

I do have a thinner coat we use for the car & puffy snowsuit for when we're outside but I honestly find it totally unreasonable in these conditions to be undressing my baby in weather where just taking my mittens off to do up the buckles has them hurting from the cold.
There are Canadian parents who make the choice to keep their children safe in the car. I understand that it gets cold in Canada; that does not change the laws of physics.
post #10 of 157
Not to threadjack, but what are the best videos about babies in puffy jackets? I know I've seen a few really good ones on here, but I didn't bookmark them at the time.

I was helping my SIL get her kids in the car today after a visit and when I went to tighten the strap on her 4mo-old, she told me not to, because she needs it that loose for his warmer snowsuit and can't loosen it after. (She just switched him into his sibling's old Eddie Bauer 3-in-1.) Besides the fact that to me that means she needs a new carseat for him, I'd like to educate her about the dangers! At the time I was so taken aback I didn't say much, but the more I think about it the more I'm freaking out!
post #11 of 157
Maedze - I'm curious where you live?

Seriously I am waaaaaaay more cautious about carseat use than a single other person I know IRL. But to go without a coat WOULD be putting my baby at risk of hypothermia. I do a thinner coat, warm boots, hat & mitts & a blanket on top. But removing a coat altogether just is not practical or safe in this environment.
post #12 of 157
I live in Massachusetts. In the winter it's not as cold as it is there. We're usually in the teens and twenties, sometimes dipping down around zero, 10 below when it gets bitter. (this is Fahrenheit, of course)

However, it's really entirely irrelevant. Whether or not it's cold, it is NOT SAFE TO WEAR A COAT IN A CAR SEAT.

There are MANY safe alternatives to keep your child warm without also endangering your child's life. I know parents who use them. Parents who live in Canada and Alaska, where I'm sure you'll appreciate that it gets even colder than it does here.

I'm not going to argue with you over your choices. The facts are that it isn't safe. If you choose to ignore that, it's certainly your prerogative.
post #13 of 157
I've always been skeptical about this idea that coats in carseats are so dangerous. Can anyone cite some evidence? (Not just an authoritative source that claims it's dangerous, but actual evidence.) These examples of babies being ejected from their carseats - is there evidence that the straps were tight until the baby's coat was compressed in the accident, or is it possible that the straps simply weren't tightened enough?

It seems to me that if the coat is very compressible, you ought to be able to compress it fairly well while tightening the straps. I can see that the force of an accident would be likely to compress the coat even more, but is it really common for it to be enough more to make a significant difference? I'm not saying I think it's impossible for this to be a real risk, I'm just saying I'd like to hear some proof.
post #14 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post
There are Canadian parents who make the choice to keep their children safe in the car. I understand that it gets cold in Canada; that does not change the laws of physics.
No but leaving your car running to warm it up DOES go against the law in many areas. Honestly the ONLY place that I have ever in my life heard mention of a child being injured because they were wearing a coat in a carseat is on this forum and one other. And to say that it's absolutely not safe for a child to wear a coat in a carseat in not entirely true. It is considered not safe for a child to wear a coat in a carseat if you have to loosen the straps. If the child is buckled in correctly and you are able to maintain that strap tension by compressing the coat and buckle them in at the same point, then there is NO additional risk.
post #15 of 157
Maedze,

I think you're underestimating the issue of Cold in Canada. I've lived in Chicago, which I'm going to guess is similar to most of Massachussetts. Yes, it was cold, but I'd still run from class to class without a coat, or go outside for longer periods without gloves or a hat but just a sweatshirt hood and my hands in my pocket.

I also lived in Canada and it was different. Running outside to pick up the newspaper was cold enough to make you cry. Taking off your gloves to tie a shoelace was painful. When I left the house in the morning to go to the bus stop it was routinely 40 degrees below zero. If I was still zipping my coat when I walked out the door, the cold would get inside and I'd be miserable for hours. If you want to think about the difference between that 40 degrees and the 10 below which you describe as "bitter" think of the difference between 70 degrees (too cool to swim) and 100.

In that kind of climate, you can cause physical pain to your child if they aren't in a coat long enough to strap the straps. Frostbite is a real risk if your child kicks off a blanket while the car is still warming up.

I also have to say that on this board it often appears as if there's too categories a behavior can fall in to -- safe, and not safe. The reality is different. Statistics tell us that every time you put your child into the car you're taking a risk (just as you would be if you walked somewhere, or stayed home) and that there are things you can do to mitigate these risks. Some of these things are easy to do and it makes sense to be judgemental of those people who don't do them. But there's no bright line between "safe" and "unsafe", and every parent needs to decide where the line is for them as an individual. A Canadian parent who decides that buying a coat with Thinsulate instead of down, and compressing it as tightly as they can, is where the line is for them isn't making a horrible choice. They're making a different choice than you are.
post #16 of 157
I live in Alaska...trust me I understand cold weather. My kids don't wear coats in the car. It is totally, 100% do-able.
post #17 of 157
momily - you said it better than I could.
post #18 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by an_aurora View Post
I live in Alaska...trust me I understand cold weather. My kids don't wear coats in the car. It is totally, 100% do-able.
Instead of just saying "it's doable", can you describe your situation an routine so that people can see whether it's applicable? Do you have a garage or driveway close to your house? Do you have a remote car start, and/or live in an area where allowing your car to idle an warm up is legal? Do you have a mini van or other vehicle that's big enough for you to close the door and keep the wind out while you buckle your kids in? What exactly are they wearing in their carseats?

I think that practical suggestions, an discussions of different circumstances might be more helpful here than judgment.

I'd still like to see someone post statistics as well.
post #19 of 157
Coats are fine as long as you don't have to adjust the straps out to accomodate the extra bulk. I usually have the kids in good-quality fleece over thermal tops, and put their warm coats on as we leave the car. Anthing that requires you let the straps out is too thick and not safe, period.
post #20 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momily View Post
Instead of just saying "it's doable", can you describe your situation an routine so that people can see whether it's applicable? Do you have a garage or driveway close to your house? Do you have a remote car start, and/or live in an area where allowing your car to idle an warm up is legal? Do you have a mini van or other vehicle that's big enough for you to close the door and keep the wind out while you buckle your kids in? What exactly are they wearing in their carseats?

I think that practical suggestions, an discussions of different circumstances might be more helpful here than judgment.

I'd still like to see someone post statistics as well.
I am nak'ing and need to run to the store but when I come back i would be more than happy to give a more detailed post.
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