- Yes, it is true -- wearing a winter jacket while in a car seat could be unsafe.
- CBC Ottawa picked up on the story: Bulky winter clothing may create car seat safety hazard
- We can't find anything specific on winter jackets on the Transport Canada web site. (If you can find any mention on their site, let us know!) We also have a pamphlet from Transport Canada on car seat safety (dated 2005) that has no mention of winter jackets.
- We have another pamphlet from the City of Ottawa, and it doesn't mention anything either. (Ironically, it does have a photo of a toddler in a car seat, wearing a winter jacket!)
- Nor can we find any winter jacket warnings in the car seat instruction booklets.
- Rotary Safety Village: "If your child doesn't fit as well in the car seat with his / her winter coat on, take the coat off. A fluffy winter coat will introduce slack into the harness, which could lead to ejection for the child in a crash. The fluff in the coat will compress greatly, creating "dead space". There are many polar fleece coats on the market now that are thin enough to use under a harness, yet can keep a child very warm."
- About.com: "The car seat harness needs to stay close to the child’s body at all times. If a coat is in between the harness and the child's body it could cause the child to be ejected from the seat. All coats and clothing will compress in a crash, but thicker winter coats and snowsuits could compress enough to allow the child to be ejected from the car seat.
One last note: Sears and Safety 1st responded to our original complaint, and have offered to replace our car seat with a different model that's slightly bigger and has a different type of harness. But still not suitable for a winter jacket.
Related: Ottawa Kids Guide