Are Infant Car Seats Dangerous?

car seatBabies sleep all the time, and all the time, we worry. Here are five ways to protect them in their slumber:

1. Use your baby?s car seat for car travel?not as a portable crib. It?s easy to grab it and go, toting your baby through the shopping mall, letting her sleep in it in your living room. But she may not be getting enough oxygen. 

A study published today in the September 2009 issue of Pediatrics found that 20 percent of newborns suffered from a decrease in oxygen levels in their blood when they slept in car seats. Their floppy heads reduced the size of the airway, and their car-seat buckles pressed against their little chests, says lead study author T. Bernard Kinane, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard University. The result: a sleep apnea-like effect. 

Rest assured?the oxygen deprivation was in the mild range. ?[But] if you have a choice, you want the higher range,? says Dr. Kinane. ?Use car seats to travel, but don?t use them 14 hours a day, carrying them around the grocery store.? Plus, a car seat that sits on the floor can tip over.

What about car seats that snap into strollers? While this wasn?t specifically tested, Benjamin Hoffman, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico, notes that "the angle is likely to be close to the 45 degrees [in car seats] so there is a theoretic risk of the same outcome. I would caution about leaving a child in the stroller all day long.?

To learn more, check out check the American Academy of Pediatrics?

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