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angels & urchins blog

Give it two fingers
Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

baby_hoodie_dept

I hate to think what giving this post such a crass title will do to my spam folder. However, I’m glad the ’two finger’ test has been brought to my attention. When using thick coats or snowsuits, parents are advised to double-check the tension of car seat harnesses. The advice comes from baby company Morrck, who says many UK parents don€™t realise the effect that thick outdoor clothing can have on the fit of car seat harness straps or the potential consequences of straps being too loose.

A coat or snowsuit can cause a surprising amount of slack. For a car seat harness to work properly, the straps need to be tightly strapped against the child€™s chest. When a child wears a snowsuit or thick coat, the straps are usually adjusted to the thickness of the coat, not the chest. If the car was in an accident, the coat could compress, making the straps too loose and reducing the level of protection for the child.

To test whether you have correct harness tension when using a coat or snowsuit, Morrck advises you do the two finger test:

1. Put the coat on the child.
2. Strap the child into the car seat and tighten to ensure a snug fit.
3. Remove the child from the car seat €“ without loosening the straps.
4. Take the coat off the child.
5. Strap the child back into the seat €“ but don€™t adjust the straps.
6. Do the two finger test. If you can fit more than two fingers underneath the harness at the child€™s shoulder bone, the harness tension needs to be tightened or avoid using the coat in the car seat.

There’s even a YouTube video to show you how to do it properly: two finger test.

According to the UK Department of Transport, 60% to 80% of all car seats are used incorrectly, with harness tension being the single biggest failing. Getting the correct harness tension is even more difficult in winter as it is hard to tell whether you have a good harness fit if a child is wearing a thick coat.

Isobel Thompson, mum of three and founder of Morrck, creator of the Baby Hoodie, explains €œThe safest bet is to strap the child into their seat wearing their indoor clothing so you can be assured of the correct harness tension. To keep them warm before the car has had a chance to heat up, parents can place a coat or blanket over the top of their child, or use a product like our Baby Hoodie, which is designed expressly for this purpose. The key is to ensure that whatever is used still gives you easy access to the harness release button.€ Morrck€™s Baby Hoodie helps keep babies both warm and safe as it fits into a carseat, with slots for the harness straps to pass through.  The hoodie is then wrapped around the baby, keeping them snug and warm, but is easy to fold open once the car heats up. As it has no fastenings, clips, zips or Velcro, it also offers easy access to the harness release button.

Baby Hoodies cost from £32.95 and are available from www.morrck.com.

Sounds like a wrap to me.

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9 Responses to “Give it two fingers”
  1. Iota says:

    I used to insist on my daughter taking off a small backpack when she was in the car. I always took it off her, even though she resisted. Then one day, when she’d really wanted to keep it on, but I took it off her, I was in an accident (airbags, ambulance…) and I am SO glad that I took it off that day. I have no idea whether it would have made any difference to her safety, but I’m just so glad I don’t have to wonder.

  2. Lee H says:

    Pssssst! Your two Baby Hoodie links are boogered up :)

  3. angels&urchinsblog says:

    Iota – I feel a bit sick just reading your comment. Thank goodness all was well, and thank goodness you’ve never, as you say, have to wonder.

    Lee H – Gulp. Let’s hope I haven’t forwarded readers to a ‘scented rubber’ site…

  4. Thanks so much for writing this piece Amanda

  5. angels&urchinsblog says:

    Home Office Mum – The ‘two fingers’ issue certainly gave me pause for thought. Such an easy thing to get right, and I know I’ve got it wrong in the past without even thinking.

  6. Lee H says:

    @angels&urchinsblog (or Amanda?)…
    One link fixed, one to go. Nah… You just sent your readers into limbo, no worries about the “SR” site. I have to wonder how many readers are puzzled about what the heck we are talking about? LOL I half considered changing my Gravatar for a bit of “SR” comic relief for you, but had to backpedal a bit as the image is used at many “wholesome” family sites. Tarred and feathered before my second cup of coffee… bad, bad, bad. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts.

    Great article BTW. Since the weather has cooled off (at least for us), we are already dealing with the extra concerns about adjusting our three car seats/boosters to accommodate our children’s coats or sweaters. It’s easy to overlook the fit as you’re quickly loading them into the vehicle.

  7. I was definitely “intrigued” by this post’s title :)

    The two finger test is really useful to know about. I often take LLC’s coat off in the car but I’m sure as it gets colder I might not be inclinded to and proabably would have fit the straps too loosely. That Baby Hoodie is really clever, fairly steep, but when you consider the safety element and how much you’d use it, probably worth the outlay!

  8. angels&urchinsblog says:

    Lee H – Apologies to anyone reading the comment stream and thinking they’ve stumbled on to a dubious MSN live messenger chat. The comments refer to a misunderstanding about party presents. One commenter suggested giving girls ‘scented rubbers’, something that has different a meaning on the other side of the pond.

    And weather cooling off here too, though the UK just enjoyed a gloriously warm weekend.

    Tanya – Thanks for reading, and sorry again for the crass title. Glad you found the post useful, and good luck with LLC’s first winter.

  9. [...] posted before about the ‘two-finger test’ (Give It Two Fingers) that should be done before babies and young children are strapped into car seats while wearing [...]

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