Health Watch: Winter gear, buckling car seat dangers

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The extra layers kids need to stay warm can interfere with proper use of safety restraints in a vehicle. Keeping your children warm in the winter is a necessity here in Alaska. Angela Adams, of the Fairbanks Safe Riders Program with the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, says bulky weather attire can become problematic when it comes to securing car seat straps on infants and toddlers.
Rear facing car seats, are no exception.

"When you are putting a baby in the car seat, we want them just to wear their regular clothing, you want the legs and the arms to be defined, so that you can see them underneath the car seat. This is a fleece or flannel over shirt that is used for warmth, but is not puffy like a snowsuit that would cause slack in a breaking situation," she said.

Adams also gave a representation of an appropriate way to secure a toddler in a forward facing car seat.

"This is acceptable, this is a coat, but yet it's not really dense, it's a lighter weight coat, it allows us to get the harness retainer clip at the arm pit level where it belongs it allows the harness system to line across the collar bone like it is supposed to, and for forward facing we want to go at or below the shoulder," she said.

There are alternative ways to keep your kids warm in the car without compromising their safety.

"Parents can put their child in the car seat and then their coat becomes a blanket in the car," she said.

The Fairbanks Safe riders program offers a free service to the public with their permanent car seat fitting station at the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.