Car seat alert: Could wearing a winter coat endanger your child?

(TODAY) – It’s a mistake any parent can easily make in winter: putting your child in a car seat bundled up in their winter coat. And it could be deadly.

Sue Auriemma from Kids and Cars showed TODAY national investigative correspondent (and his 3-year-old son Blake) the potential danger: When a child is wearing a winter coat, it may feel like they are strapped snugly into a car seat when the straps are actually dangerously loose.

At an official crash test lab in Michigan, a child dummy that appeared to be securely strapped into a car seat came hurtling out of it in a simulated 30-mph crash.

Experts say to strap your child securely in their car seat without their coat on. “Instead of putting the coat on him, you can put the coat over him to keep him warm,” Auriemma said. “Or you can use a blanket.”

The advice even applies to adults: Experts say they shouldn’t wear their winter coats when they’re behind the wheel or riding in a car.

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