The purpose of a car seat is to protect our kids in the case of an accident. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, proper use of an age appropriate car seat reduces the chances of motor vehicle accident death by 71%  for children under the age of one and 54% for kids between the ages of one and four.

In order for them to serve their purpose in case of an accident, a car seat must be installed and used correctly. Due to its harsh temperatures and weather conditions, the winter presents some unique hurdles. Below are some tips for making car seat more safe, effective, and comfortable during the coldest months of the year. 

Never let your child wear their winter coat while strapped into their seat.

Their bulky nature makes it impossible for parents to tighten the straps enough to secure a child in their seat. Instead have a thin fleece or sweatshirt material jacket you keep by the door or in your trunk for cold days and keep blankets in the car to lessen the temptation of allowing your child wear their coats. 

Tighten buckles every time you put your child in their car seat. 

Kids in layers, even thin, safe ones might look snug in their buckles but unless checked, parents can’t know if kids are buckled tight enough to keep them safe in an accident. Pinch the strap between the shoulder and the chest clip. If you can hold the fabric between your fingers, it needs to be tighter. 

Warm up your car before you leave. 

No one likes to be cold. If you are using an infant car seat, taking it into the house between drives can alleviate this problem but if your child is older and in a seat that stay in your car, starting your car a few minutes before you are ready to pack up and leave can add a lot of comfort and remove a good deal of stress from winter travel.