I read somewhere last week that you can get frostbite in as little as 10 minutes with a wind-chill of -60F. By the way, that’s 10 minutes, not 10 seconds. And while it got darn right cold recently, I don’t think we got anywhere near -60F.
So when dropping off my two-year old at daycare, it's with curiosity (and a twinge of judgment) that I see kids piling out of cars looking like Randy from Christmas Story. Are they worried about frostbite in those 10 seconds from the car to the door? Is it a fear that the cold causes the ‘cold?’ Is it plain old southern frigophobia?
Judge me all you want, but when my two-year-old and I race across the parking lot, he may or may not have his coat on.
He definitely does not have it on in the car.
You see, I feel very good about my son surviving the 10 seconds of cold from the parking lot to the door. I don’t feel very good about him surviving a car accident in a carseat with his winter coat on. Simple as that.
See the link below illustrating why. The easy explanation is this: bulky winter jackets make it impossible for the straps to remain close to the body, defeating the purpose of a safe harness. Imagine parachuting out of a plane. Would you want your harness snug or loose?
If you want to bundle your kids up outside of the car, be my guest, but I’ll tell you, my two-year-old and I have raced inside by then. Sure, you’ll get mean looks from folks at the supermarket entrance. Just do as Taylor Swift does and shake it off. You’re being a good parent.
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~T. Anthony GiaQuinta, MD