Watch the video to find out the dangers of using car seats as cribs.
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Researchers are warning parents against letting their babies sleep in car seats while they’re at home.
The warning was made after an extensive study evaluated 12,000 sleep-related deaths in babies during a ten years’ span.
Researchers found that around 220 infants died while they were in a car seat. Surprisingly, just 0.2% of deaths occurred when the babies were in a vehicle.
Over 50% of deaths occurred when the infants were left in a car seat at home.
According to the team of researchers from the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital, positional asphyxia was the most common cause of infant fatalities in car seats.
Positional asphyxia is a condition which happens when a person’s position blocks their nose and mouth, thus keeping them from breathing.
When a car seat is positioned in a vehicle, a specific angle keeps an infant’s breathing airways open.
But when positioned on a flat surface, an infant’s head can droop forward as their weak neck muscles often lack the strength required to lift their head and keep it upright.
As a result, their breathing airways are cut off.
If the infants are left in such a position for a long duration, the lack of breathing can lead to brain damage or even death, researchers warn.
‘Car seats are important when you’re traveling with an infant,’ lead researcher Dr Rachel Moon wrote in the journal Pediatrics.
She said: ‘It’s best not to have the infant sleep in the car seat when you’re at home. The safest place for a baby to sleep is on a firm, flat surface.’
Study authors noted that some parents can’t afford a cot so they use car seats to hold their infants while they perform other tasks.
Car seat manufacturers also suggest that parents should not leave their babies in them for over two hours.
‘Babies should not sleep in car seats when they are not traveling and should be moved to a safe sleeping space when they arrive at their destination,’ Kate Holmes, support and information manager at The Lullaby Trust, said.
‘We always advise that babies sleep on a firm, flat, waterproof mattress that is free of any toys or loose and bulky bedding.’
‘At the Lullaby Trust we advise parents that they should not travel with their baby in a car seat for long periods of time,’ she added.
‘On longer journeys we recommend parents take regular breaks where the baby is removed from their car seat.
‘If possible, an adult should sit in the back of the car with the baby, or use a mirror to keep an eye on them.
‘If a baby changes its position and slumps forward, then parents should immediately stop and take the baby out of the car seat.’
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