DENVER (KDVR) — Safety experts say that thick or bulky coats can make car seats unsafe. As we head into the winter months, one invention could be a car seat game changer for parents.
It’s recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that parents do not put kids in a car seat with a puffer coat on. They believe the car seat doesn’t have a tight enough hold.
When you buckle a kid in with a coat on there are a few inches of slack, according to the founder of Buckle Me Baby coat Dahlia Rizk. She said just six millimeters of extra forward movement in a car crash leads to critical brain, neck and spine injuries.
“I tried taking the coat off every single time and it just was too much for me, and you know there are multiple stops, multiple kids. I couldn’t do it,” Rizk said. “So, when I was struggling with the winter coat problem trying to take the coat off of her, I had that moment where I was like this rule is so stupid, and then I got her in the car she calmed down, I calmed down. I realized the problem isn’t the rule, the problem is the coat. The idea that parents have to take coats off every time they get into the car seat is a little outdated.”
Rizk essentially re-invented the coat and called it the Buckle Me Baby coat.
How does the Buckle Me Baby coat work?
Rizk said parents put the coat on the child at home like they normally would, put the child in the car seat, and then before tightening the harness pull the front panel of the coat out of the way for a secure fit. The shoulder seams on a Buckle Me Baby coat are set farther back which allows the car seat harness to be on the chest and shoulders without a bulky coat in the way.
She said that children can be in the same harness setting in the car seat as if they had no coat on at all.
“It’s one less thing parents should have to worry about, and keeping your child safely buckled in the car seat is really the difference between a trip to the hospital after a crash or just being able to walk home. I think every parent should be able to walk home and rely on the safety of the car seat and the safety of the coat,” said Rizk. “So, it’s just that one step which is a whole lot easier than taking the whole entire coat off and then convincing your child to put it on.”
How much does it cost?
The prices of the coats start at $69 and go up to $150.
Rizk said the sleeves are extendable up two inches, so parents can usually get two years of wear out of the coat before they need a new one. There’s also a trade-up program, if you already have a Buckle Me Baby coat and your child outgrows it, you can send it back and receive a credit on your purchase of a new one.
She said parents already have to worry about so many things that a winter coat shouldn’t be one of them. Eventually, she wants all coat manufacturers to design coats in a way that is safer in car seats.