Winter Season Brings Unique Challenges To Car-Seat Safety

If your child isn’t strapped in their car-seat correctly a simple slide or accident on the messy roads can be dangerous.

Safe Kids North Shore through Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department has free car-seat checks all year around, but this time of year the weather keeps them busy.

“Now just driving, I’m thankful to know that he’s in there safe.”

On Christmas day a suspected drunk driver rear-ended Kim Summers and her husband’s jeep with their then two-week-old in the back seat.

“He’s normally really calm and to first hear him screaming after that happened after the initial hit was scary.”

Just a few weeks earlier she got a car seat check, a decision she says may have saved her son’s life.

Summers says, “I didn’t think it would happen, I didn’t think we would get in a car accident and I didn’t know how thankful I would be for getting it checked.”

Especially with rain, snow and ice on the roads Fire and Life Educator at Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department, Jennifer Ritter says car-seat safety faces multiple challenges.

“Small crashes, fender benders, going into the ditch, low rates of speed, if you’re seat isn’t tight or if it’s not locked in that can significantly effect that child’s outcome.”

Not only that, the bulky winter coats that keep them warm could also be a life altering mistake.

Ritter says, “Put the coat on, put the child in, tighten the straps on them and then unbuckle them, don’t loosen the straps, but take the child out. Take the coat off, put them back in the seat and buckle them back up and are the straps still tight on them or not, if it’s a bulky coat it’ll be too loose.”

That’s why experts suggest putting a blanket over a child or wearing their coat backwards over the buckles.

Anything to keep them warm, but safe.

For details on free car-seat checks click here.