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Car Seat Safety: Watch Infants

Experts Note Life-Threatening Breathing Problems in 9 Infants Sleeping in Car Seats

Study's Results

Monitors showed a drop in the babies' blood oxygen levels for "substantial" periods of time during the experiment, report Kinane and colleagues.

The scientists said "respiratory instability is a potential concern because of the upright position in the car seat" -- especially for premature newborns.

Problems could include a drop in the babies' oxygen levels, but it "generally has been accepted" that the crash protection offsets that risk, Kinane's team says.

"Unfortunately," they write, "the portability of car seats and busy contemporary lifestyles are resulting in infants spending extended periods of time in the car seat for reasons other than transport."

Overall, our study suggests that additional refinements of the car seat and bed are necessary to minimize or prevent respiratory compromise," the researchers write.

They called on manufacturers to address those issues.

"In the interim," Kinane's team writes, "we suggest caution when considering the use of these devices outside the setting of transportation in the car, for which they were designed."

The study was funded by Aprica, a Japan-based firm that makes car seats and other baby products.

Infant Car Seat Safety

Pediatric experts stress that car safety seats are essential for babies who ride in automobiles.

Still, babies in car seats need attention, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Don't leave your baby unattended in a car safety seat," states the AAP's web site.

"When your baby falls asleep in her car safety seat, it can be tempting to bring her inside and leave her alone in the seat, but this can be unsafe," the AAP says.

"Your baby can fall out of the seat, or the seat can fall over.

"And remember, placing the car safety seat on a shopping cart is unsafe too," the AAP continues.

"The best place for your baby to sleep is on her back in a safe crib," states the AAP.

It is also important to follow the manufacturer's instructions to use car seats safely.

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