Sports Equipment and Car Seats - Do They Mix?  

Fall sports are in full swing, and one question that seems to come up among sports parents is, "Can my child wear his equipment in the car?" Obviously, this isn't a big issue for sports like soccer, baseball, gymnastics, or martial arts, where the uniform is basically a different style of clothing, it isn't an issue at all. Your child can change at home, hop in the car, and arrive at the field ready to play.

But when you're talking about football, hockey, lacrosse - gear that involves pads and is a bit more "involved", fitting that into the car, and especially into a carseat for the younger athletes, becomes more troublesome. Unsurprisingly, sports parents seem to be divided on this one. Hockey parents in particular, probably because it seems that ice time is often unbearably early, love the concept of getting their preschool skater totally dressed in the comfort of their own home, leaving only the skates for arrival at the rink. Others, taught for years that even a coat will compromise the effectiveness of a car seat, can't imagine loosening the straps to allow for padding and bulk and will haul the giant bag with them and wrestle all the gear on once they arrive. The first parents argue back that the issue with a coat is the compression, and that firm hard padding doesn't cause the same issues, so safety isn't a concern and it's whatever works best for the family.  Then, like hockey itself, things can get ugly, and there's usually no one to break up the fight.

So who's right?

Despite the firm padding, car seat technicians assert that any gear that changes the fit of the seat belt isn't appropriate to wear in the car. This means that car seats, when you're adjusting the straps, are a definite no go, and it's not a good idea for anyone, adults included, to wear any bulky equipment in the car. That gear might keep you safe on the ice or the football field, but the laws of physics in the car is different, and it's just not worth the risk for a little added convenience.

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