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They Say: Infant Car Seats Not Safe for Sleeping

infant-car-seat-baby-sleepingAge old wisdom tells us never to wake a sleeping baby.  But if your newborn is asleep in her infant car seat, a new study published in Pediatrics suggests that — at the risk of waking her or not — you should move your sleeping baby to a crib when you get home.

From Health.com:

“Car seats and car beds can result in mild respiratory compromise in about 20% of newborns,” explains lead researcher T. Bernard Kinane, MD, the chief of pulmonary pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston. “These safety devices should only be used for protection during travel and not as a replacement for a crib.”

Researchers studied 200 newborns in different sleeping situations:  hospital crib, car bed, and car seat.  They discovered that sleeping in a car bed or car seat reduced oxygen levels in newborns.  Oxygen saturation dropped from 97.9 percent in a crib to 95.7 percent in a car seat.

The problem appears to be the car seat angle, but even when a car seat is installed appropriately — which isn’t always that case — lead study author Dr. T. Bernard Kinane believes that a better design that allows the baby’s head to fall back would improve safety.

In the meantime, here are two things that concerned parents can do right now to reduce their baby’s risk:  Have your car seat installed or checked by a safety expert.  Not getting the angle right is a common problem.  And use your car seat only for travel, not for napping and sleeping.

Photo: jessicafm, Flickr

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