Are car seats safe for infants to sleep in?

ACADIANA, La. (KLFY) — Car seats can reduce 90% of car crash related injuries, but they can also be a threat to the lives of infants and babies if they are left sleeping unattended in them.

Katie Broussard, Educational Manager of Women and Children’s Hospital tells Louisiana’s KLFY, “The number one thing killing infants and children is an unintentional injury.” She also states babies should never sleep in things like car seats, swings, and bouncy seats. “It’s our responsibility as parents to keep them safe and move them to a safer sleep environment,” says Katie.

One of the risks of a baby falling asleep in a car seat can lead to positional asphyxia. This occurs when the baby is in any type of position that impedes the baby’s airway or airflow.

In the instance where the baby is in a car seat or swing, their heads are big and heavy and the baby may not be in a position where they can keep their airway open says Katie. The best way to prevent this is to keep an eye on the baby the whole time especially during long car rides.

Infant car seats should not be used as a replacement for cribs.  It is also best to not cover the car seat with a blanket so that the baby will be visible to the parent and the parent can monitor the baby. All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing seat until they are two years old or reach the required weight and or height of their car safety seat.

Melissa Goodson is expecting her first child in January and she like many new mothers is learning what to do and what to get for her first born. She says her and her husband travel a lot and was not aware of the dangers of letting babies nap and sleep in their car seats. Melissa says, “I guess I never really thought about a baby napping in a car because a lot of babies take naps in car rides, but I can see may be the risk of them may be like spitting up and choking in the back seat when you’re driving.” Melissa was aware of car seats having expiration dates and she is looking to buy a brand new one for her baby boy.

Katie Broussard tells KLFY that an expired car seat puts babies and in danger too. She says that every car seat has an expiration date and if it has extended that expiration date, it’s time to get a new seat.

Another thing to look out for is to make sure that the baby seat is installed correctly. Nine out of ten child restraints in Louisiana are used incorrectly.

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