Bulky winter coats for babies not safe for car seats - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bulky winter coats for babies not safe for car seats

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

With cold temperatures, parents want to keep children warm while inside the car, but those bulky winter coats may actually put your child at risk while in a car seat.

Experts say car seats and winter coats can be a dangerous combination for babies.

Andi Quinn is a certified child passenger safety technician and registered nurse at St. Luke's Hospital. She says it's an easy mistake to make and will compromise your child's safety.

"It is important to make sure the children are warm enough, but when it comes to car seats we don't want to have them in those snow suits that are nice and fluffy and padded," said Quinn. "Those are great if they want to play outside, but not for in the car seats."

She says, as a general rule, take those winter coats off before strapping your child in the car seat harness.

"A lot of time when it gets really, really cold, you think about how we dress when we're out there, but that is way too much on an infant," Quinn said.

Parents should never put anything too thick between the child and the car seat harness because that extra slack could potentially lead to the child being ejected from the car seat.

While the harness may seem tight with the winter coat or snowsuit on, it's actually not. Once your child is properly dressed and strapped in the harness, you'll notice a lot of room, proving how ineffective the harness and coat combination can be.

After securing the baby in the car seat, use the winter coat that was taken off before as a blanket.

"Once the baby's in there, tuck a blanket around the side of them -- we can use the little car seat covers," said Quinn.

It's a safety concern that all parents need to know about, but Quinn recommends that grandparents and other child caretakers are aware as well.

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