Child car seats: a winter warning

Child car seats: a winter warning

15th December 2017

With winter comes a variety of road safety hazards that drivers must be cautious of: icy conditions, frosted windshields and tyre pressure issues, to name a few. However, it’s also important to think about what’s going on inside your car and how the drop in temperature could be impacting your family.

During the winter months, it is even more vital to remember to use child car seats properly: not only because of the increased road dangers, but also because of the cold weather gear your children are wearing. We’d like to remind parents of the importance of removing winter clothing before strapping children into a car seat.

A bulky winter coat worn under the straps of a car seat could render the safety device ineffective. This is due to the space created between the straps and the child’s body. If a car seat is not tightened properly, it will not be able to restrain a child safely in the case of an accident.

Experts recommend removing your child’s coats, jackets or snow suits before strapping them in (and also, warming up the vehicle before leaving them in a cold car.)

Between 60 to 80 per cent of car seats are used incorrectly, according to the UK Department of Transport, and harness tension is the most common problem. This stat is especially applicable in winter with the percentage of parents unaware of the danger of leaving winter coats on their children.

If you are unsure of how tightly to strap your child in, follow these instructions from the Child Car Seats association.

We would also like to note the importance of choosing the correct car seat for your child. Not only do height and weight make a difference, but also the quality of the seat and its safety features.

With the post-Christmas sales coming up, many parents may be searching for a new car seat or an upgrade; however, choosing a car seat should be a well-researched decision. It’s important to choose one most suitable for your child and one that can perform most effectively – not necessarily whichever option is discounted.

New parents should be prepared to consider numerous details, including compatibility with your vehicle(s), ethics about using second-hand child car seats and which way the child will need to face, to name a few. Refer to ROSPA’s checklist for buying a car seat for detailed advice on the matter.

The Government website also provides an overview of all of the laws regarding child car seats including age requirements, car seat specifications and how to choose the right seat for your little ones.

Drive safe this winter!


Premier Medical is a medico-legal reporting agency offering support for personal injury, especially road traffic accidents, soft tissue injuries and whiplash claims. We also provide medical reporting services for complex injury claims.