MISSOULA, Mont. - Families are hitting the road this week ahead of the holidays, and emergency responders have a warning -- winter coats and car seats can be a dangerous combination.
We learned it's all about space, if a kid being buckled into a car seat is wearing a puffy coat, parents often don't buckle them in tight enough.
"It’s definitely one of the most important things to make sure they're dressed in those thinner layers, and things are on top of them," Missoula Rural Fire Captain Toby Ballard said.
Missoula parent Corrie Grallo has two kids; she says she takes safety measures seriously.
"Sometimes we will wear our coats out to the car -- we park on the street -- and then when we get to the car we’ll take their coats off,” said Grallo. “I usually have them in sweaters, a hat, and gloves, especially during the really cold weather."
A crash simulation conducted by NBC showed a child dummy dressed in a bulky jacket being thrown from its car seat.
Make sure your baby is dressed properly so that they're safe in their car seat, to do that they need to be wearing tight-fitting layers so that the buckle and harness are fit snugly around them.
Then take a warm jacket or blanket and cover them up so they stay warm.
Another dummy in the same crash simulation, dressed the correct way, remains in the car seat during and after the crash.
Grallo says buckling kids up the correct way takes more time but is worth it.
"I’ve had friends flip their cars over and land completely upside down, and it was the car seat that saved their kids," Grallo said.
Ballard said it's important to have your car seat checked periodically.
Click here for more information on how to do that.