With the winter season in full swing, many people keep their winter coats on while driving and likewise keep their children snuggled in their winter coats when strapping them into their car seats. Yet, according to recent reports released by Today and USAttorneys, keeping your child in a winter coat while riding in a car seat can be incredibly dangerous.

Fastening Seatbelt

Today recently released reports of crash test dummies getting violently thrown out of their car seats while wearing their winter coats. Why does this happen?

Researchers found that puffy jackets create volume. When you strap your child into his or her safety seat, you may not pull the straps in tightly enough to compensate for the increased volume of the jacket. However, in the high forces experienced in an accident, the straps prove to be too loose in high-impact tests to properly protect children in a crash. Even in a collision with speeds of only 30 miles per hour, children were ejected from their car seats.

The new research creates a real dilemma for Boise and Nampa, Idaho parents. Should parents take off their children’s jackets and potentially expose them to the cold? Or should parents strap in their children tightly to compensate for the puffiness of the jacket?

The Today show segment urges parents to remove their children’s jackets before strapping them in to their child safety seats. Yet, according to the Washington Post, some weather experts are disturbed by this advice. For drivers traveling on rural roads, the failure to wear a winter coat can lead to hypothermia and even death. When drivers get stuck in snow or stranded without proper weather gear, they put themselves at serious risk of freezing to death. Taking off a child’s winter coat could potentially expose him or her to deadly or dangerous cold. Even using a blanket may not be enough. One expert explained that in the case of a rollover crash, the blanket may fall off, potentially exposing your child to deadly conditions. If you’re knocked unconscious and help isn’t quick to arrive, the situation can get dire very quickly.

There are countless cases of winter drivers who survived crashes only to later die from hypothermia while waiting for rescuers.

So, what is a parent to do?

The Washington Post recommends that parents purchase a non-bulky coat for their child to wear in the car. This way, your child will be both warm and protected in his or her seat. Additionally, parents should always check and make sure the straps are tight and snug.

Bulky coats are actually dangerous for adults as well as they can compress in an accident and lead to greater injuries.

This winter, it’s a delicate balance between staying warm and staying safe. A non-bulky style jacket is a good compromise.

The Law Office of Johnson & Lundgreen are Boise and Nampa, Idaho personal injury lawyers who urge families and parents to stay safe driving this winter season.