MASON, Mich (WLNS) – Here in the U.S., statistics show more children die from car crashes than anything else.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says car seats reduce the risk of death in crashes by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for kids ages 1 through 4.
But keeping kids safe in the winter creates new challenges.
Now a Mason mom has started a new business designed to help families do just that.
It’s a mistake many moms and dads make: Loosening the straps on the car seat to account for a thick winter jacket. But there’s a lot of slack when the coat comes off.
“This is dangerous because in the case of a car accident, she would slid right out of that,” explains Allison O’Rourke.
That is what O’Rourke is hoping all parents will watch out for and avoid.
And she’s come up with a creative, colorful, crafty way to do it.
It’s called the “WarmMe.”
“It’s one simple button, it hangs like a shawl,” explains O’Rourke. “It has pockets on the inside so that the little once can tuck their hands inside and then wrap it nice and tight if it’s a really cold and windy day.”
The WarmMe takes the place of a thick winter coat.
Once it’s on, the child hops in the car seat, leans forward, leans back, all buckled and away you go.
“You just kind of flip it up a little bit to you can get to the buckles,” says O’Rourke. “It doesn’t have to be taken off and then when you get to where you’re going, they’re still warm when you get out of the car.”
Last year Consumer Reports issued a warning about the dangers of winter coats and car seats.
Experts say, as a general rule, winter coats should not be worn underneath the harness.
A bulky coat can mean loose straps, and if they’re too loose, you’re putting your child at risk in the event of a crash.
Not willing to put her children at risk Allison got “artsy”.
Now she and her husband make them right at home in a variety of sizes and patterns.
“As you can see, a lot of the prints are bright and flowery, and colorful, but they’re not just for girls,” says o’Rourke. “We do sell some for boys as well, because boys need to be safe in the car as well. Here we have a race car print this is size 18 months. We have some forest animals. This was a really popular one last year. Polkadots. And the mommy matching scarf and a hat too.”
Allison says for $40 plus tax and shipping you can get the “WarmMe” delivered right to your door.
But to her it’s hard to put a price on safety.
“I’ve always had a tender heart towards children, and when I’m not making the WarmMe I’m a school social worker, I’ve worked in child care,” explains Allison. “Number One, I’m a mom. So yeah, the safety, for their kids safety, to think that I could make a difference, is amazing.”