Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Car Seat Safety

Posted on: January 15, 2012

Another Guest Blog, this time written by Emily Malleson from Morrck Baby Hoodies www.morrck.com 

According to the UK Department of Transport, 60 to 80% of all car seats are used incorrectly, with harness tension being the single biggest failing. Getting the correct harness tension is even more difficult in winter as it is hard to tell whether you have a good harness fit if a child is wearing a thick coat.

To get the correct harness tension over a puffy snowsuit or thick coat, a parent really has to tighten it substantially, which can make the child uncomfortable as their freedom of movement is restricted. Being tightly strapped in a thick coat can also lead to the child overheating once the car warms up.

To test whether you have correct harness tension when using a coat or snowsuit, you can do the two finger test: 

  1. Put the coat on the child.
  2. Strap the child into the car seat and tighten to ensure a snug fit.
  3. Remove the child from the car seat – without loosening the straps.
  4. Take the coat off the child.
  5. Strap the child back into the seat – but don’t adjust the straps.

 Do the Two finger test.  If you can fit more than two fingers underneath the harness at the child’s shoulder bone, the harness tension needs to be tightened or you should avoid using the coat in the car seat.

The safest bet is to strap the child into their seat correctly wearing their normal indoor clothing so you can be assured of the correct harness tension.  To keep them warm before the car has had a chance to heat up, parents can place a coat or blanket over the top of their child, or use a product which is designed expressly for this purpose. The key thing is to ensure that whatever is used, still gives you easy access to the harness release button on the car seat so that they can be released easily in an emergency.  You should also make sure that when you buy the car seat it is the correct one for your car and it is fitted correctly.

Morrck baby hoodies are designed to fit in your car seat or buggy or anything with a 5 point harness, avoiding the need to use other outdoor clothing, you can just wrap and go.   The harness feeds through the openings in the travel wrap and fastens over baby’s indoor clothing. This provides extra protection across your baby’s forehead and ears in cold, windy weather and lies completely flat behind your baby’s head when it’s not being worn.

Morrck’s Baby Hoodie has been tested by an independent testing facility and it was certified as having passed the relevant elements of the ECE Reg R44.04 car seat safety test. Baby Hoodies are available from www.morrck.co.uk

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