How to Keep Kids Safe in Cold Cars

Did you know riding in a car seat can be dangerous while wearing a heavy jacket? Here's how to keep your little one safe in a cold car.

Woman Brushing Off Snowy Car in Cold Weather
Photo: Ruslan Sitarchuk/Shutterstock

We’ve heard about the dangers of a hot vehicle in the summer, but sitting in a cold car could put kids at risk for frostbite and hypothermia. Lara McKenzie, Ph.D., a principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio, offers tips to protect your child in the backseat.

1. Prepare First

Keep her inside the house while you shovel the driveway and warm up the car. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, back out of the garage immediately after starting your car; or if your car is outside and snowed in, remove snow around the tailpipe first.

2. Remove His Coat

Bulky clothing can prevent the harness on your child’s car seat from fitting snugly. Dress him in thin layers and take off his coat before you place him in the car. Once he’s buckled, help him stay warm by putting his coat on backward or using a blanket.

3. Lock Up

A car’s buttons, cubbies, and big seats look fun to kids, but remind your child that cars are for going places, not for playing in. Keep your vehicle locked at all times when it’s not being used, and your car keys should be stored out of reach too.

4. Be Alert

If a snow day means your routine is changing and you need to take your newborn to Grandma’s rather than to day care before work, put your employee ID or phone in the backseat as a reminder to not accidentally leave a sleeping baby in the car.

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