This article deserves a dramatic title because I'm seeing posts on TwInstaBook of kids in their car seats wearing giant winter coats. You guu-uuuuuys! It's super-important to keep kids safe in the car. It's basically the most statistically dangerous thing we do with them, and we do it every day. I'm going to give you my real mom plea: I know it's annoying. I know it's hard to do 100 times a day when you're out doing errands. I know it's tiring to pull and cinch and pull and cinch. But you have to make sure your kids are safe in the car at all times. You're their only chance to ride safely. Still not convinced? Allow me to Neil Degrasse Tyson you with some facts:
But first, enter our MAM pacifier giveaway! The winner will receive a MAM prize pack worth $30! We'll be accepting entries until December 24.
And if you don't want to wait to win, here's a chance to get some last-minute baby shopping done. What's cuter than a paci with their name on it? MAM has a special offer: when you purchase a set of MAM Personalized Pacifiers you'll receive a pack of MAM Winter Pacifiers for free. Visit www.shopmambaby.com, add all items to your cart and enter the promotional code MERRYCHRISTMAS. The MAM Winter Pacifier pack will be free! Hurry, offer ends December 18th or while supplies last.
Okay, back to the serious stuff:
Why they can't wear their puffy winter coats in the car
A recent story on The TODAY Show highlights the danger of kids in puffy winter coats in their car seats. When a child is wearing a winter coat, it may feel like they are strapped snugly into a car seat when the straps are actually dangerously loose. At an official crash test lab in Michigan, a child dummy that appeared to be securely strapped into a car seat came hurtling out of it in a simulated 30-mph crash. That's run-around-town-doing-errands speeds.
It's a hassle to take off their coats once you get to the car after you just put them on to leave, but it's not safe parenting to leave them on. If you're worried they are cold you can put the coat on backwards after they are strapped in, or just use a blanket. I hate getting kids coats on as much as anyone else, so I usually put a hat on my kids and we run from the house to the car without coats (if it's not like -7 degrees, of course). And with my baby sometimes I'll carry him to the car wrapped in a blanket and then drape it over him once he's strapped in. Make sure grandma, grandpa, and all other caretakers know to do the same.
Why you need to make sure those chest clips are high and tight
NPR reported last May that 43 percent of children who died from car crashes were improperly restrained. The biggest offense I see around the internet is photos where the chest clip is loose and/or way too low. Car Seats For the Littles breaks it down for us by explaining that chest clips alone don't provide protection in an accident (that's why some other countries don't even use them), but they DO keep the harness properly spaced. If you don't tighten them enough, the harness could slip off their shoulders in an accident. They should sit between the armpits and nipples. Don't be afraid to pull them tight! The straps should be unpinchable at the shoulders. Check out this article about chest clip myths.
Why they should rear-face until 4
A baby's head accounts for 25% of its body weight, while an adult's head is only 6% of the total body weight. The bones in the neck of a small child are not developed enough to protect the spinal cord. When they are involved in a car crash in a forward facing car seat, the weight of the head combined with the immature skeleton can cause the spinal cord to stretch up to two inches. If it stretches just half an inch it will snap. This is known as internal decapitation and causes paralysis or death. The development of the skeleton happens at roughly the same rate in all children, no matter how big they are, so a bigger baby is no safer in a forward facing seat than a small one of the same age. Using a rear facing car seat reduces the risk of serious injury or death from 40% to just 8% compared to a forward facing seat. (Awesome facts courtesy of RearFacingToddlers.com.)
Give yourself a gold star (or an extra lap at the Starbucks drivethrough) if you practice all three of these safety musts. See someone's kid strapped in incorrectly? Share this article on your social accounts. (Make me the bad guy!) Also, there's a contest inside! So of course you're sharing for that ;)
Don't forget to enter our MAM pacifier giveaway! We'll be accepting entries until December 24.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And as always, check our website for events and our easy-to-navigate chart, of every weekly kids library program in Westchester. Since Christmas break is around the corner, doublecheck with your library to make sure the program you want to attend isn't on winter hiatus.
See you next time!