from the Bear River Health Department
The holiday season is one of the most exciting times of the year for your little ones, but it’s also a time when kids can be at risk for injuries.
Safe Kids Bear River recommends the following tips to stay safe during the holidays.
- Check your car seat before holiday travel. Seventy-three percent of car seats are not used or installed correctly, so before you hit the road, check your car seat. If you have troubles, questions or concerns, certified child passenger safety technicians are able to help or even double check your work. Call the Bear River Health Department at (435) 792-6500 to make a FREE appointment.
- Bulky coats and car seats don’t mix. If it’s cold outside, cover babies and young children with a thick blanket to keep them warm, after they’ve been strapped securely into their seat. Bulky winter clothes and coats can keep a car seat from doing its job.
- Find the perfect toy for the right age. Consider your child’s age when purchasing a toy or game this holiday season. Before you decide on the “perfect” toy, check to make sure there aren’t small parts or other potential choking hazards.
- Keep button batteries away from young kids. Keep a special eye on small pieces like button batteries that may be included in electronic toys. While these kinds of games are great for older kids, they can pose a potential danger for younger, curious siblings.
- Make sure your home has a carbon monoxide alarm. As with smoke alarms, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas, and keep them at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.
Decorate your tree with your kids in mind. Kids are curious and will want to play with the ornaments on the tree, so you might as well prepare. Move the ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top of the tree. This makes room at the bottom for the ones that are safer for young kids.
For more information, contact the Bear River Health Department at (435) 792-6500 or visit safekids.org.
Coat compression is dangerous
It is unsafe to put a thick coat or snowsuit under the harness of a car seat because in an accident it could compress, making the straps too loose and possibly allowing the child to be ejected from the seat.
To be safe, the car seat harness needs to stay close to the child’s body at all times. All coats and clothing will compress in a crash, but thicker winter coats and snowsuits could compress enough to create a lot of slack in the harness. The effect could be as though you never tightened the harness straps at all.
Check All Winter Coats for Car Seat Safety
Use this test to see if your baby’s winter coat or snowsuit is too thick to be safe in a car seat.
- Take the car seat into the house.
- Put the winter coat or snowsuit on the child.
- Put your child in the car seat and buckle the harnesses as you normally would. Adjust the straps to the appropriate fit for your child.
- Take the child out of the car seat without loosening the straps.
- Take the coat off your child.
- Put the child back in the car seat and buckle the harnesses again, but do not tighten the straps.
- If you can fit more than two fingers under the harness at the child’s shoulder bone, the coat is too thick and is not safe for use with the car seat.
Keep Baby Warm and Safe
Even if you can’t safely use your child’s winter coat in the car seat, there are ways to keep baby warm when temperatures drop.
For babies in an infant seat, dress them warmly in normal clothes. Buckle the child into the infant seat, then cover the baby with a light blanket tucked around the sides. Make sure nothing is behind baby’s back. Finally, add another heavier blanket over the top of the infant seat. There are also car seat covers available that fit over the whole infant seat once the baby is buckled in. These covers have a peep-hole so that baby’s face remains uncovered. Never forget to buckle your child under the cover; it’s easy to forget when the buckle is out of sight.
For older babies and toddlers, take the child’s coat off before buckling them into the car seat. Once the harnesses are secure, put the child’s coat on backwards over their arms to keep them warm without compromising safety.
Whenever possible, warm up your car before putting the baby in the vehicle.
When buying winter coats, keep thickness and car seat safety in mind. Polar fleece jackets and snowsuits are warm but thin, making them a smart choice for winter baby wear.