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The Dangers of Letting Baby Sleep in a Car Seat

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 18-May-2015

Car seats are designed to keep babies safe, but a new study has found when used improperly - specifically, as a napping place - these seats can pose deadly dangers.

Conducted by researchers at Penn State’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, this study looked at 47 infant deaths that occurred in sitting and carrying devices. Researchers found that 31 of those deaths involved napping in car seats. Of those deaths, 52 percent were due to strangulation from straps, and the remainder resulted from asphyxiation from improper positioning. Some deaths occurred when babies were not strapped in correctly, enabling them to slide down against the straps and harness locks; others occurred when babies’ slumped positions blocked their airways, preventing breathing.

Does that mean you shouldn’t use a car seat? Absolutely not - but you do need to use it safely. Here are four essential tips for safe use:

  • If you buy a used seat, make sure you know its history. Once a car seat has been in a crash or damaged in some way, it can no longer be used.
  • Don’t use it as a substitute crib outside of the car. Infants need to be on their backs in a crib to ensure they can breathe properly.
  • Make sure it’s installed correctly. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation, and don’t take shortcuts. Check out the CDC’s brief pictorial of proper positioning as your child grows.
  • Once installed, shake the seat at the base to make sure it can’t move more than an inch in any direction.

Car seats can play a vital role in terms of ensuring your child stays safe. Just be sure you follow safe practices to avoid potentially disastrous outcomes.

Call our Washington D.C. car accident attorneys if you believe injuries in a recent accident might have been caused by a damaged car seat.

Car seats aren't the only common household danger for children. Here's A Quick Primer on Dangerous Toys.

Categories: Child Safety
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