Like every morning, without asking yourself too many questions, you take the road with your children to go to daycare. You dress them warmly, the mercury already hovering near winter temperatures.
But did you know that your child's snowsuit can greatly reduce the effectiveness of his car seat in the event of an accident?
This is a little known fact to many parents, even if the manufacturers indicate it in the user manual. “This is a little-known and trivialized fact, explains Marie Rivas, technician and instructor certified by the Association for the Safety of Child Passengers of Canada (CPSAC). Bench manufacturers have done crash tests that prove the danger, everything is indicated in the user guide. Unfortunately, few parents read the manual. »
Where is the danger?
Big coats or snowsuits are bulky. In the event of a collision, any compressive materials between the child and its harness can become paper thin. This compression then risks creating a space large enough to endanger the life of a child. “Even if you tighten the straps very tightly, theharness risks becoming too loose in the event of an impact, explains Marie Rivas. The straps could then fall on the child's shoulders and he could be thrown from his seat. The child will also be more at risk of suffering serious internal injuries since the movement of his body will increase due to the space created between him and his safety harness.
How to dress your child?
If we don't wear snowsuits in the car, how do we dress our child to prevent them from getting cold? “There are several safe solutions that require a simple little adjustment in our routine,” explains Marie Rivas. Some parents opt to dress the child in onion skin, with a spring coat, toque, mittens and boots. “We can even add warm blankets in the car if the child is cold, but generally children are very comfortable that way. Most of the children are even too hot and are uncomfortable with the big snowsuit in the car,” adds Marie Rivas. Other parents go for a simple solution; when the child sits in the car, we take off the winter coat before tying him in his bench. “One shot attached, the child can put his coat back on him to warm up.”
How to check if the coat is safe?
Some winter coats are compatible with car seats. To find out, just test your child's coat in their car seat. “The pinch test only takes a few minutes to do.and allows us to see if the child is safe in his bench,” explains Marie Rivas.
Here is the procedure:
- We tie our child without his coat in his bench.
- We tighten the straps as much as possible to pass the “pinch test”. What is the “pinch test”? You should not be able to pinch and hold the straps at the child's collarbone.
- We unfasten the harness then put the child back in his bench, with his coat
- If you can't fasten the harness, the coat is not safe
Help a professional
Do you have questions about the safety of your little ones in the car? You can hire a certified child passenger safety technician. They are trained according to strict standards and are recognized in particular by the SAAQ and Transport Canada. “We are trained to help parents navigate this complex world and ensure that children are safe in their car seat,” explains Marie Rivas.
To find a certified technician near you