Bulky winter coats and car seats can be a dangerous combination, experts say. The padding on thick, winter coats can compress in a crash and lead to an increased risk of injury, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
In a statement, the group explained: “In a car crash, fluffy padding immediately flattens out from the force, leaving extra space under the harness. A child can then slip through the straps and be thrown from the seat.”
To reduce the risk of injury, the AAP recommends taking traditional puffy coats off so that the harness can be tightened properly. Now, a new startup is aiming to keep kids secure and warm while eliminating the need to take a child’s coat off in the car.
A New England startup called Buckle Me Baby Coats says it has designed a coat which acts almost like no coat at all.
In a crash test at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, the coat -- which boasts no excess fabric between the child and their harness -- reduced the movement of the child dummy and had a statistically insignificant amount of slack compared to no coat.
How does it work? The side and shoulder seam opening on the coat allows the front panel to be pulled out of the way and the harness to be placed properly on the shoulder and chest without any bulky material in the way.
Panel covers buckles
Once the child is in the car, a large chest panel covers the buckles and prevents kids from accessing the chest clip. If kids get hot, the front panel can be unfolded and rolled to the side.
Because of the panel, parents do not have to remove the child's coat, which can help keep kids warm in cold weather.
The company is currently raising funds on Kickstarter ahead of its anticipated Fall launch.