Keeping your kids safe
HUNTINGTON — As the weather gets colder, parents will look to bundle up their little ones before heading out, but that warm clothing could potentially endanger children while they’re strapped in a car seat.
According to Jason Waugh, the valet supervisor at Cabell Huntington Hospital who holds a Child Passenger Safety Certification, thick, puffy coats on kids can potentially cause the car seat to not do its job correctly.
“With a big puffy coat it doesn’t allow the harness to fit properly,” Waugh said. “In the event of the crash, it can feel snug on the coat, but the child can come out of the car seat during an impact because of it.”
Because of this, the coats should come off when kids are loaded into the car and strapped into their seats. It’s an extra step, but it ends up being the safer option.
To ensure their children’s safety, parents can have car seats checked out by a car seat technician, who are listed by county on the West Virginia Division of Highway Safety website.
Technicians will examine child seats including checking the seat for any recalls, making sure all the straps and buckles are effective and checking the seat’s expiration date. Waugh said because they are made of plastic, extreme hot and cold temperature fluctuations can degrade the material over time. The seats are usually good for about five years.
If the child is present, technicians will also make sure the seat fits the child properly. Waugh said seats that are inappropriate for a child’s height and weight are among the most common issues with car seats.
Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.
CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY SEAT FITTING STATIONS IN CABELL COUNTY (BY APPOINTMENT)
• Cabell County 911 Car Seat Safety Program, 129 Gallaher St., Huntington, WV 25705. Contact Natalie McComas, Danielle Arthur, Tara Craigo, or Jacob Graves at 304-526-8444 for an appointment.
• Cabell County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), 846 8th Ave., Huntington, WV 25701. Contact Margy Blankenship at 304-526-8503 for an appointment.
• Safe Traffic Operations Program of Huntington 800 5th Ave., Room L-1, Huntington, WV 25701. Contact Beau Evans at 304-696-5545 for an appointment.
• Huntington Police Department 675 10th St., Huntington, WV 25701. Contact Sgt. Eddie Prichard at 304-696-4470 for an appointment.
• Southwestern Community Action Council, Incorporated 1100 Monroe Ave., Huntington, WV 25704. Contact Loretha Wilson at 304-697-4600 for an appointment • St. Mary’s Medical Center 2900 1st Ave., Huntington, WV 25702. Contact Matthew Herbert at 304-526-1899 or Rhonda Brown at 304-526-1663 for an appointment.