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Winter Car Seat Safety Tips

By Emily Girsch.
Proper car seat use is a big problem for kids in the U.S.

Research shows that 7 out of 10 children are improperly restrained.

This has to do with a variety of reasons, but during the winter months, it could be affected by what a child is wearing.

If you've ever put a child in a car seat wearing a puffy jacket, you may have noticed that it was harder to strap them in.

Traffic safety coordinator for the Broome County Health Department Christine Muss says the straps of a car seat should lay snug on a child's body, not on a coat.

"That webbing is going to lay on the coat and not on the child's body which is going to cause slack in the harness and in some cases in a crash, the child might be properly ejected or fully ejected out of that harness," said Muss.

Another thing parents miss when putting a child in a car seat is the location of the straps, which should be higher on the chest and not on the stomach.

The straps should also be tight and not loose.

"We want the harness to pass what's called the pinch test where you try to pinch the webbing at the child's collarbone and you really shouldn't be able to do that," said Muss.

Broome County Health Department also offers a number of fitting stations which provide free car seat inspections.

Jim Morris is a volunteer at a fitting station in Endwell.

He says another things parents need to know is that no toys should be attached to the car seat.

"If it didn't come with the car seat it shouldn't be on the car seat," he said.

You should also never purchase or accept a used car seat because they expire after six to ten years, depending on the kind.

You also want to make sure you have the right size car seat for the height and weight of your child.