Can Babies Safely Sleep in Car Seats?0

Safe sleep in infancy is a challenging topic for tired parents. A recent study shows that car seats can be surprisingly risky for sleeping infants.

Although memories of the first month or two of my 11 yo boy’s infancy are hazy, I vividly recall the screaming. It was like Green Eggs and Ham— he would scream on a plane. He would scream on a train. In the crib, on the beach, it was the screaming we liked the least.

The ONLY thing which would calm him down was his beloved swing. The 30 minutes of blissful quiet until the timer ran out helped my wife and I hang on to our sanity. Fortunately, night time sleep was not too bad– once he fell asleep. When the Fisher Price Rock and Play swing was recalled several weeks ago, it took me back to those painful memories. If I had depended on one of these swings, I don’t know what I would have done.

A recent study in the journal Pediatrics looked at over 10,000 infant deaths which occurred during sleep. The authors found a surprising finding– a subset of these infants were dying in car seats. In spite of the recently publicity around the Fisher Price Rock and Play recall, deaths in swings and strollers were very uncommon.

The deaths in car seats WERE NOT generally occurring in cars. (Riding in a car seat– even sleeping– is the safest way for your baby to be in the car). They were occurring when infants were sleeping elsewhere in their car seats– often not secured correctly, and often watched by someone by their parents.

I wrote a recent article in the NYTimes reviewing this new study as well as the barriers to safe sleep inherent in infancy.

In it, I review:

  • When the danger occurs with car seats, swings, and strollers
  • How you can reduce risk
  • What safe sleep really looks like

Please check it out, and share it if you find it useful.

The post Can Babies Safely Sleep in Car Seats? appeared first on Craig Canapari, MD.

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