Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office offers winter car seat safety tips
MULTNOMAH COUNTY, Ore. (KPTV) - A warning from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office: The jacket your child wears during the cold weather could put them at risk of being ejected from their car seat or booster seat in the event of a crash.
During cold weather, a lot of kids wear puffy jackets with the protective outer shell. Those jackets are great for protecting your child from the elements, but pose a danger if you don’t take them off your child before strapping them.
It’s a mistake deputies with the sheriff’s office see parents make too often.
“The puffiness of the jacket prevents their child from being the safest they can be in the car seat,” said Deputy Jessie Volker.
During a demonstration from Deputy Volker, it appears the child is secure in their seat, but that’s not the case. The straps are flush against the jacket, but not against the child’s body, which is what is required.
“If they’re forward facing, they can fly out through these straps right here. These straps are just able to come right off, and they can wiggle out, as kids like to wiggle,” said Deputy Volker.
A good way to check if your child is properly secure is the strap test. After buckling them in, pinch the straps up by their shoulders and make sure you aren’t able to grab any excess fabric.
With a child wearing a thinner, fleece jacket, which is recommended if you want to keep your child warm while they’re in their car seat, the seatbelt can sit directly against the shoulders, chest and crotch area.
It seems simple enough, but Deputy Volker says many times she’s pulled people over for traffic violations only to look in the back and see a child not correctly fastened in their car seat.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 46% of car seats and booster seats are not used correctly.
“I’ve seen quite a few parents that could have received tickets because they’re just not educated, they don’t know or they’re just in a hurry that morning,” Deputy Volker said.
If you need help installing a car seat or want to make sure yours is installed correctly, you can contact the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and make an appointment to be seen at their station in Troutdale.
To make sure you child’s car seat is used and installed correctly, check out these resources:
- Safe Kids Oregon: http://www.safekidsoregon.org/
- Oregon Impact: https://oregonimpact.org/Child_Passenger_Safety
- Randall Children’s Hospital: https://rchvirtualcarseathelp.youcanbook.me/service/jsps/cal.jsp?cal=261e276b-0eaa-4438-9977-6ea8eb9c102b&ini=1669932020980&jumpDate=2022-12-05
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats
- Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office: 503-988-4300
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