Sunday 10 October 2010

Now the winter coats are out, please check your children's car seat harness straps using the two finger test

The weather doesn't know what it's doing at the moment. One minute it's big thick jumpers and winter coats, the next T-shirts and thin anoraks. Please read the following safety advice to make sure your kids are safely strapped in to the car seats at all times. Do the quick Two Finger Test when using thick coats or snowsuits and keep your kids safe. (Stop sniggering in the back row, this is a serious safety warning and nothing to do with a two-fingered salute !)


Parents advised to double check car seat harness tension this winter

Parents are being advised to double check the tension of car seat harnesses, particularly when their babies and toddlers wear thick coats or snowsuits this winter. The advice comes from baby company Morrck, who says many UK parents don’t realise the effect that thick outdoor clothing can have on the fit of car seat harness straps or the potential consequences of straps being too loose.

“Parents may be very surprised at the amount of slack a coat or snow suit can cause. For a car seat harness to work properly, the straps need to be tightly strapped against the child’s chest. When a child wears a snowsuit or thick coat, the straps are usually adjusted to the thickness of the coat, not the chest. If the car was in an accident, the coat could compress, making the straps too loose and reducing the level of protection for the child,” explains Isobel Thompson, mum of three and founder of Morrck, creator of the Baby Hoodie.

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

Put the coat on the child.

Strap the child into the car seat and tighten to ensure a snug fit.

Remove the child from the car seat – without loosening the straps.

Take the coat off the child.

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 avoid using the coat in the car seat.

See a video here on how to do the two finger test.

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,” explains Isobel.

 For more information on the Two Finger Test and the Baby Hoodie, go to www.morrck.comand click on ‘car seat safety’. You can also see the crash test results on this page.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Graco Nautilus Group 1-2-3 Car Seat - Group 2 (Juliette's review)
Graco Nautilus Group 1-2-3 Car Seat - Group 3 (Sophie's review)
Graco Nautilus group 1 - 2 - 3 car seat (Mum's review)
Rockin Hood

1 comment:

  1. this is a great article as it can save lives, I am always to careful with making sure my children are in their car seats correctly as it is so so important! x


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