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As the weather begins to cool down, it’s a good time to prepare your vehicle for the eventual winter wonderland. The approaching holiday season comes with family vacations, parties and visits with relatives, meaning more time driving with your loved ones.

Unfortunately, winter’s slippery conditions put traveling families at a higher risk for traffic accidents. You can follow car seat laws and guidelines to help keep your children safe.

Maryland law states that you must secure children who are under 8-years-old or shorter than 4 feet 9 inches in a safety seat. Following the manufacturer instructions will ensure the seat is installed correctly.

As children grow each year, parents should adjust restraints to fit snugly. You may even need to switch the safety seat with a new one if your child has outgrown the height and weight limit of the current seat.

Bulky winter coats keep children warm in snowy weather, but they can also pose a car safety risk. Consumer Reports recommends buckling your child into the seat before wrapping the coat backwards like a blanket to avoid loose restraints. To check for proper tension, try the “pinch test”: if the restraint has enough slack that you can hold the excess between your thumb and forefinger, then you should tighten it.

When a winter crash first happens, your mind likely turns toward the safety of your passengers, particularly children. If a motor vehicle accident interrupts your holiday joy, you may wish to consult with an attorney to learn about fair compensation.