The Dangers of Letting Your Child Sleep In Car Seats

Childcare Product Safety Attorney

The Dangers of Letting Your Child Sleep In Car Seats

While many parents put a great deal of trust in car seats to keep their child safe, there are some hidden dangers to letting your child fall asleep in them.

Car seats for the most part do an excellent job at protecting children in the car in case of a crash, but when children, especially newborns, fall asleep in these seats, it can cause them serious harm and possibly death. The danger is called positional asphyxiation. It occurs when a baby falls asleep in a position that closes off their airway. Unfortunately, it is very easy for the car seat to cause this position or similar baby items such as rockers and bouncers. Babies do not have the muscle strength to move and lift their neck, and can as a result, they quietly suffocate. Babies should always be left to sleep on their back on a flat surface with no loose blankets, pillows or stuffed objects.

The Dodd family discovered this danger in the worst way possible. Their son Shepard, who was just eleven weeks old, was swaddled and put in an unbuckled car seat in an empty room by a daycare worker. Two hours later, the daycare worker saw Shepard blue and unresponsive and called 911. Unfortunately, it was too late, and Shepard died. The Dodd family was extremely upset since the same daycare had warned about allowing a child to sleep in a car seat only the week before.

Not only can babies suffocate, they can overheat in the seat as well. Pediatricians urge parents to make sure that car seat and straps are fitted securely and properly. The front buckle should be positioned in the middle of the chest. If it is too high can cause choking and if it is too low it can cause major injuries in the case of an accident. Car seats can also easily sway or overturn causing the baby to hang from a bad position or fall out completely. Never leave a child unattended in a car seat, especially if the car seat has been removed from a vehicle. Removing a car seat from the vehicle can change the angle the baby is resting in and comprise its ability to breathe.

The best practice is to always remove your sleeping baby from a car seat if you are not driving, and if you are driving, ensure that the straps are securely and properly in place. It is not worth the extra peace and quiet to leave your child unattended.

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