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  1. #1

    Bulky coat, wouldn't that increase ride-down time?

    It's recommended ( that children shouldn't be buckled into rear-facing car seats wearing bulky winter coats. I found an explanation of why loose car seats are worse for the child because they increase ride-down time ( I assume the same explanation applies to bulky coats too, but it doesn't make intuitive sense to me, so I'm hoping to get some clarity.

    If my child is buckled into a rear-facing seat, the seat itself is tight, the child is wearing a bulky coat, and the child is buckled in as tight-as-possible given their bulky coat - wouldn't the extra padding of the coat be a "good thing"? My thinking is that in a crash, the child would be flung forward, be slowed down by their coat as it compresses (a good thing, right?), then be ultimately stopped by the buckled harness. Extra padding in the coat acts like an airbag effect. This would lead to the ride-down time increasing, less force acting on the child overall, and less injury to the child compared to no coat at all.

    The thinking doesn't jive with the recommendation though. The explanation of the "hand catching an egg" ( seems opposite of what I'd expect. Could someone explain to me why a bulky coat (buckled tightly) is worse Physics/Forces than no coat at all?

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  3. #2
    CPS Fanatic Brianna's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Re: Bulky coat, wouldn't that increase ride-down time?

    Perhaps pictures would help. This thread has some great visuals

    The godkids are growing!
    J 9/09 and J&A 1/15

  4. #3
    Moderator - CPS Technician
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    upstate NY

    Re: Bulky coat, wouldn't that increase ride-down time?

    One potential problem with a child moving more is that he/she moves to the point of striking a very hard part of the vehicle's interior. So - in that case, you essentially have "too much" ride-down time.

    And with a bulky coat, the effect is essentially a loosening of the straps, which might mean that the child slides out of the harness altogether.
    Cutie #1 (13 years) 5-stepping
    Cutie #2 (10 years) riding in a Safety 1st Incognito

    Cutie #3 (7 years) riding in a Chicco KidFit
    Cutie #4 (6 years) riding in a Frontier
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  5. #4
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Re: Bulky coat, wouldn't that increase ride-down time?

    Overtightened harness on a puffy coat.

    [ame=""]Thick coat or jacket in the carseat. - YouTube[/ame]

    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic  785

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  7. #5
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Chesterfield, VA

    Re: Bulky coat, wouldn't that increase ride-down time?

    "much like what happens to the internal organs of a person when they are flung into a loose seatbelt or harness" (from the first link), and from Wendy's video, we can see that the harness is in fact loose on the coated child.

    The coat is not an energy absorbing material (if it were, we'd all have helmets made of polar fleece and nylon), the body will be flung just as hard into the harness as if the coat weren't there at all. That is, there's risk of various neck/head/spine injuries when the body slams up and into the harness and possibly over the shell of the seat, if they ramp up enough and create enough extra momentum to stretch the harness even further than it would have been.

    What I would do, if it's honestly too cold to de-coat a kid, is find a highly compressible one, like this blog shows..

    Good question, though!
    CPST since 2003, pu"R"ple since 2008, three kids growing too fast since 1997, 1999 and 2006

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

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