An Irish mother has taken to Facebook pleading for parents to remove infants and young children from large, bulky clothing before restraining them in a car seat; after a terrifying crash that wrote-off their vehicle.
Aoife Flynn, her husband Carl and their two children, aged three and one, were travelling outside of Dublin over Easter weekend.
An 18-year-old driver in an oncoming vehicle was speeding and lost control, crashing into the Flynn’s family car. “It was the most frightening experience of my life,” Flynn says.
“The paramedics at the scene confirmed what I knew, the fact they were strapped in tight without bulky jackets saved them from serious injury or worse.”
NZTA spokesperson Andrew Knackstedt says bulky, air-filled clothing can compress in an impact, which means the car seat straps are not as secure as they should be reducing the seat’s effectiveness.
The family was unharmed, but the experience heightened her awareness of other parents strapping their children in while wearing jackets.
“I see people taking their kids out of the car all the time in big, puffy jackets and it really upsets me,” Flynn says.
More than 1000 people have responded to Flynn’s post, many commenting that they weren’t aware of the safety tip.
“I’ve never had them in jackets in the car, but I only know that because someone mentioned it to me when I first had kids.
“It is not widely known, you don’t get told, but you should do.”
Shepherd says it’s vital when putting children in child restraints parents ensure they are not wearing thick clothing such as heavy winter coats or down-filled jackets.
“This can make the car seat’s harness straps loose and reduce the seat’s safety benefits in the event of a crash.”
Instead, keep your baby warm in the car by placing a blanket over them after connecting the harness straps and dress them in clothing that allows the harness to be tightened snugly against their body.
When correctly installed and used, child car seats can reduce the risk of death by 70 per cent for infants up to 54 per cent for toddlers.