As a personal injury attorney, I unfortunately see families whose loved ones have passed away in tragic accidents caused by the wrong doing of others. As such, I feel the need to be more aware of the potential dangers that may cause these accidents. Once I realized this fact, I spent a lot of time making others aware of these potentially harmful dangers, so as to prevent unnecessary accidents from occurring.
The other day I realized another potential danger that I never noticed before. As usual, I put my five year old son Cole in a booster seat when we got into in the car. Since its winter, I dressed him in his puffy winter jacket and as I strapped him in, I found myself loosening the straps to make an allowance for the jacket. As I drove around on that cold day, I saw other children stuffed in car seats wearing their bulky jackets and smiling at me through car windows. As I was looking at all of the faces of children in their car seats, a thought crossed my mind: was I putting my child in jeopardy by not taking his jacket off before securing him in his seat?

So, I decided to look into it. First, I wanted to know if there is a law about coats and car seats.  As it turns out, there is not. The question then became, “is it safe to put a child in a car seat with a coat?” The reality of this answer is that putting your child in the car seat with a coat does in fact compromise a child’s safety. In an accident, the coat can become compressed leaving extra room between your child and the straps. There is even a possibility that your child could slip out of the coat and through the loose straps and be projected if you are in an accident.

So, I figured, why take the chance? Instead, I find myself warming up my car ahead of time, removing his jacket, and putting a blanket on my child once he is properly secured in his seat. I hope you find yourself doing the same to protect your children.

Carin O’Donnell is a member of Stark & Stark’s Yardley, PA office, specializing in Accident & Personal Injury Law. For more information, please contact Ms. O’Donnell.