It's natural to protect our children from the wintry cold by wrapping them up in thick coats, but dressing a child in a coat before putting them in a car seat could have fatal consequences.

That's according to whose experts say that loosening a seatbelt in order to accommodate a thick winter coat could increase the chances of the child falling out of both the seat and the coat during a collision.

The potential danger of keeping children in coats while motoring has been demonstrated by an NBC video. Even at a fairly sedate speed of around 30mph, the crash test dummy slipped out of its restraint and its coat.

Experts say that removing bulky coats before strapping young passengers in could save lives. The advice extends to adults in cars too.

The American Academy of Paediatrics notes: "Winter coats can compress in a crash and lead to increased risk of injury. Ideally, dress your baby in thinner layers and tuck a coat or a blanket around your baby over the buckled harness straps if needed."

The advice comes from American organisation, but is as relevant to motorists on this side of the Atlantic as well as in America.

Issues already exist with child car seat safety across the developed world. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 46 per cent of child car seats are incorrectly fitted, while a recent BBC investigation suggested 90 per cent of child car seats are not fitted properly by shop staff.