Babies Sleeping In Car Seats- Is It Safe?

(Last Updated On: September 18, 2021)

Car seats have been long in use for babies’ safety and security in a car crash. Is it safe for babies to sleep in a car seat? The answer is No! There are risks associated with car seat sleeping. Recent data have shown that there is an underlying connection between infant deaths and car seats.

Child safety seats or car seats are essential for the kids to keep them safe in a car accident. It’s compulsory to use car seats in every U.S. state while traveling. It’s a bad practice to keep the sleeping babies in a car seat more than travel requires. 

Why Isn’t It Safe for Babies to Sleep In Car Seats?

Let’s drive into deep and reveal the ultimate problems if babies sleep in car seats!

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is more commonly known as crib death or cot death. It’s more common in children less than one year. SIDS usually occurs during sleep. The reason behind the deaths remained unexplainable after a thorough autopsy.

However, healthcare professionals have assumed that it might have happened due to breathing difficulty. If the baby sleeps keeping the face down, it may inhale the exhaled carbon dioxide. Therefore, there might be a carbon dioxide build-up and a lack or low level of oxygen in the blood. So, the baby could not rise from sleep and die.

Overheating Issues

Take off the outdoor clothes when the kid is inside the car. Excessive clothes can lead to overheating. When the baby wears too much clothing at a normal car temperature, there is a chance that it could get sweaty.

Remove a layer of clothing if their neck or tummy feels hot. Overheating causes due to a lack of ventilation and increases the risk of SIDS. Therefore, you should keep a close eye on this matter.

Car Seats Are Not to Be Used as Sleeping Cribs

Yes! The car seats are not to be used as beds. They are made to keep the kids safe during an incident not for sleeping purposes. You should keep them in the car seat the least time possible.

It is seen that many parents keep their babies in the car seat if they’re sleeping even after bringing them home. It is a very bad habit. You are risking your child’s life. Also, when you come home and if they are asleep, put them in a flat and firm mattress. Also, take off their warm outdoor clothes even if they get up from sleep.

You sould only use them to transport and travel for a certain distance. You need to take occasional breaks on long journeys and check the babies in a frequent manner. Take them out of the car seat. And if the baby is too small, then move the limbs for sufficient blood circulation. 

For How Long Can the Babies Be Kept in the Car Seat?

Babies shouldn’t be kept in car seats for long hours. Do you know the 2-hour rule? Most parents, about half of them, haven’t ever heard of this before. So, we thought, it’s important to share this valuable thing with you.

The 2-hour rule states that, in a 24 hour time period, a baby should be in a car seat for no longer than 2 hours. And you need to keep them under observation. This rule is recommended by most manufacturers. And there are some scientific reasons that back up the rule.

In a car seat, the baby lies in a semi-upright position. Staying in such a position can be harmful to the baby in three ways-

  1. There is a chance that the baby’s head can dangle forward and block the airway to the lungs.
  2. Staying in one position for a long time can cause the little one muscle pain and numbness.
  3. It creates excessive pressure on the baby’s still developing spine.

It can cause serious situations. Therefore, it would be beneficial for your kids not to keep them in the car seat for more than the recommended hours.

Why Shouldn’t You Break the 2 Hour Rule?

You should strictly follow the 2-hour rule. Here are the reasons why:

Infant Death

As described earlier, it can lead the infant to death. When the baby sleeps face down or sits in an upright position, due to the lack of oxygen supply, the baby may face breathing issues. There has been some recent research linked to babies sleep in sleepers in an inclined position.

Breathing issue

Infants and young kids may face breathing problems when sleeping and they’re kept in a car seat or in a sitting position. Their head can tilt forward and block the airway and cause breathing difficulty. This is called positional asphyxiation. This leads to child death.

Neck Pain

Also, their neck muscles aren’t strong enough to hold the head back. If they are kept in such a position for a long time, they’ll develop neck pain and even irreparable muscle injury.

What if My Baby Falls Asleep in the Car Seat Frequently?

Car seats reduce the chance of death and injury during a car crash. And they may often sleep in their seats when traveling. It’s OK for your baby to take a nap in the car seat. But that’s only for a short period. If you’re traveling for a long journey, then occasionally check your baby’s posture and breath. Keep him/her in a comfortable lying position and change the sides occasionally. And as soon as you get to your destination, but the sleeping baby in a crib that has a flat surface.

Tips to Prevent Car Seat Death

  • If you’re buying a second-hand car seat, be sure to get to know its history. If the car seat has an accidental background, then pre-check its usability before starting to use it for your baby. Oftentimes, faults cannot be seen with bare eyes. Therefore, inspect the car by a professional manufacturer.
  • Keep the baby under the observation of an adult all the time, whether at home or in the car seat in a car you’re traveling.
  • Install and use the car seat with proper inspection.
  • Babysitters or grandparents who take care of the baby should properly know how to install a car seat and the discussed matters above. It is seen that almost half the child deaths related to car seats are due to strangled seat belts.
  • Remove any warmer or headgear when the baby is in the car seat inside the car at a comfortable temperature. Because babies can overheat quickly.
  • Don’t use a car seat at home as a bed. Keep the baby in a car seat the least possible time whether it’s sleeping or not.
  • In a long driving distance, keep the baby under supervision.
  • Whether you buy a new or second car seat, be sure that it fits your baby in the matter of- age, length, and weight.

Conclusion

A baby’s death in an inclined sleeper or car seat is preventable only if you take timely measures. Some people still don’t know about this. Therefore, sharing this information would be beneficial for them. Help them by spreading the message and help to save the children’s lives.

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