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TODAY: Car seat danger, babies shouldn't sleep in car seats when not traveling

By A. Pawlowski

Car seats are the safest place to be for babies when they’re being driven around, but it’s another story if parents use them as an alternative for a crib or bassinet once they get home.

When infants die while sleeping in sitting devices, almost two-thirds of the cases involve babies slumbering in car seats, a study published Monday in Pediatrics found.

But just a small fraction of those deaths occurred while the infant was in the car, said Dr. Jeffrey Colvin, lead author of the study and a pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.

“It really appeared that the deaths in these car seats occurred in the context where the car seat wasn’t being used for its purpose in transporting a child, but instead it was being used as a substitute for a crib or bassinet,” Colvin told TODAY.

“But they aren’t as safe as a crib or bassinet when the child is out of the car and sleeping … There’s a lack of awareness (about this). I think every parent, including myself, has been guilty of doing this at one time or another.”



It’s not completely clear why car seats aren’t the best place when the child is out of the car and sleeping, Colvin said. A crib or bassinet may be safer cbecause it’s flat rather than angled like a car seat, plus there aren’t any straps or side padding that could potentially serve as a strangulation or suffocation risk, he noted.

But parents should “absolutely not” be worried if they see their baby slumbering in a car seat during a drive, he added.

“The car seat is where infants should be always when they’re traveling and it’s the absolute safest place for that infant to be, whether they are awake or asleep,” Colvin said.

“But you just have to remember that car seats are for cars and when you get out of the car, the safest thing to do if your infant is still sleeping, would be to put them in a bassinet or a crib.”


Read the full story via Today

Learn more about the Children's Mercy Center for Childhood Safety