If you’re a parent, you’ve probably let your little one sleep in their car seat. It is easy and convenient, plus most of us don’t give it a second thought. I mean, your baby is strapped in and safe, right? Well, think again. According to a new study, babies should not stay asleep in their car seat when they’re not traveling, as doing so could result in injury or death.
The study — conducted by Dr. Peter Liaw, Dr. Rachel Moon, Dr. Autumn Han and Dr. Jeffrey Colvin and published in Pediatrics — analyzed data from nearly 12,000 infant deaths. Researchers found that 3 percent of said deaths happened while babies were in “sitting devices,” such as car seats, strollers, bouncers and swings. Of those, 64 percent happened in car seats.
The reason is unclear, though Colvin told Today is likely has something to do with the angled position. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies sleep supine until they are one year of age. That said, Colvin also stated parents should continue to use their child’s car seat, as they can — and do — save lives. “The car seat is where infants should be always when they’re traveling and it’s the absolute safest place for that infant to be.” However, said seats should only be used in motor vehicles. “The deaths in these car seats occurred in the context where the car seat wasn’t being used for its purpose in transporting a child,” Colvin said, “but instead it was being used as a substitute for a crib or bassinet.”
Using a car seat for feeding or play can also result in injury, suffocation and/or death.
This isn’t the first time the AAP has come to this conclusion: A 2015 study found that babies who sleep upright are at risk for asphyxiation. So while your little love bug may look comfortable, it is best to move your babe when you get home. They may be grumpy, but they’ll be safe (and alive).
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