Mommy Monday: Winter Car Seat Safety

Lynchburg, VA - Getting your children clicked into the car seats as you rush around town is one of those things we do every day to keep our kids safe.

But did you know that when it's cold outside you need to be taking into account those extra layers they have on when you buckle them in?

Mom of two, Missy Jarvis, tries to take extra care when putting her 2 and 4 year old kids in the car when the weather is cold.

"It's always scary because the jackets, the puffy jackets, are so filled with feathers or filling that you feel like the car seat is not as tight as it should be," Jarvis said.

So Jarvis has learned the art of tucking when buckling her kids in for safety.

"Today it's nice out and he just has a sweatshirt on, but with the bulky jackets it is hard to get everything stuffed in and get the car seat tight so you know they are safe," Jarvis said.

Turns out your kids aren't safe if they are strapped in with their big jackets.

Officer Mike Bauserman heads up the child safety seat division for Lynchburg Police. He said those bulky layers put more distance between the hard shell of the car seat --- that's more time and space for the child to hit the back of the seat if you're in an accident.

"You have to remember car seat manufacturer doesn't test them with a blanket or thick jacket," Bauserman said. "They test then as they build them."

Bauserman said to take coats off when you buckle the kids in. Instead, warm your car up beforehand or have blanket handy to cover them up. It could be a matter of life and death.

"I think it's more dangerous to have the extra padding behind them than it is to be cold for a couple of minutes," Bauserman said.

When Jarvis heard the advice she got worried.

"Oh another thing I should be doing that I'm probably not doing," Jarvis said.

But it's advice she will think about every time she buckles her kids in this winter.

"I thought the practicality of that is a little cumbersome, but I guess for safety that is what we should be doing," Jarvis said.

Bauserman also said it's a good idea to readjust the straps holding your child in every time you get in the car.

Officers use the pinch technique to make sure the straps are tight enough. That means you should not be able to pinch much of the strap, it should just pull out of your fingers quickly.

Also, for front facing seats the straps need to be on or above your child's shoulders. For rear facing seats it's on or below the shoulders.