Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2018
When it’s cold out, you’ll want to make sure your kids are toasty warm. But our child-safety experts say it’s important to remove bulky clothing before strapping them in their seats.
RAA’s child-safety expert, Belinda Maloney, says dressing children in bulky winter jackets – like thick jumpers or heavy woollen coats – may cause the child restraint harness to become loose.
“This could result in the child being ejected from the restraint in the event of a crash or even when the vehicle stops suddenly,” Ms Maloney explains.
The extra padding might keep them warmer, but it can also create a gap between their body and the seatbelt, so it’s best to remove bulky clothing before securing them in their restraint.
Wondering what counts as too bulky? Here’s a 5-step process to help you find out:
- Put the thick jumper or coat on your child, place them in the child restraint and fasten the harness.
- Adjust the harness until it’s firm on the child.
- Unbuckle the harness without loosening the straps and remove your child from the restraint.
- Remove the jumper or coat and place them back in the restraint.
- Buckle them in and see how loose the harness straps are.
If there’s space around their body and the harness is no longer firm, then the clothing is too bulky for the harness to work effectively.
When it comes to travelling with babies, do not wrap them in a blanket or swaddle them.
“If the baby needs a blanket, then it should be placed over the firmly adjusted harness to keep them warm,” Ms Maloney says.
No matter the weather, parents should firmly adjust the harness straps each time they put their child in the restraint, as different clothing can affect the firmness of the harness.
It’s just as important to know how to use the child-restraint correctly.
To find out how many drivers have been fined by police in the past 5 years for not properly restraining kids, head here.