Research warns babies sleeping in car seats when not travelling is dangerous

Posted in Safety.

While it can be tempting to use a sitting device for sleeping, a recent study shows that this can lead to sleep-related deaths and should be avoided at all cost.

According to the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), approximately 3,500 infants die in the USA every year from sleep-related infant deaths. This includes sudden death infant syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, strangulations, as well as other ill-defined deaths.

However, a study published in Paediatrics reveals that many deaths each year are caused by the improper use of sitting devices, such as car seats, strollers, bouncers and swings.

Child in car seat

A ten-year study

Researchers from AAP analysed National Centre for Fatality Review and Prevention data, obtained from 2004 to 2014. Out of 11,779 infant sleep-related deaths, three percent occurred in sitting devices, with 62.9 percent of those occurring in car safety seats. Bouncers were responsible for 35.1 percent of deaths in sitting devices while strollers, just 2 percent.

Very few, in fact, less than 10 percent, of the deaths from car seats happened when the device was being used as directed, while more than half occurred in the infant’s home.

Just for travelling

Car seats and strollers are important for getting out and about and allowing parents to safely transport babies from place to another. However, the results show the importance of using these devices only as instructed.

According to the AAP, sitting devices such as car seats should not replace a cot or bassinet. While a child may fall asleep while travelling, once you arrive at your destination, they should be transferred to a cot or bassinet. And it is recommended by the AAP that babies sleep lying down on a firm mattress with no soft bedding. Sitting devices are not to be used for regular sleeping as they can pose serious dangers such as suffocation or falling out of the device.

“While car seats are always the best place for babies when they are being transported in a vehicle, that doesn’t mean they are the safest place when they’re sleeping outside of the car,” study co-author Dr Jeffery D. Colvin said to AAP News & Journals.

Dr Colvin also explained how vital it is to share this information with anyone who cares for your infants.

“It’s not only that doctors — paediatricians — need to educate their families, the parents of their patients. They also need to have parents educate anyone who is taking care of their infant, whether it’s a grandparent, babysitter or child care provider, that car seats are not substitutes for cribs and bassinets,” he said. “The same is true for bouncers, swings and strollers.”


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