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Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Baby Sleeping in a Car Seat

The Journal of Pediatrics found that “sitting devices,” like car seats, swings, and bouncers can lead to injury and even death if babies are allowed to sleep in them.

Researchers examined the deaths of 47 young children under the age of 2, all of which occurred while in a device made for sitting or carrying. Two-thirds of the deaths occurred in car seats, while the rest occurred in slings, swings, bouncers, and strollers. About half the deaths in car seats were due to strangulation by the straps, while the other half were caused by suffocation due to positioning.

Sleep related deaths are the number one cause of death in kids under 12 months old. To avoid injury or death, experts urge parenst to never, under any circumstances, leave infants and young children unsupervised – sleeping or awake – while in these devices. Because babies don’t lie flat in car seats, they can suffocate when their heads (which are heavy compared to the rest of their bodies), tip forward, blocking their airway. Strap strangulation usually happens when the restraints are not fastened as directed.

If people leave an older infant or young toddler in a car seat and undo the straps thinking that it makes them more comfortable, that’s a significant hazard. Whenever a child is in a cart seat, the harness should be secured.

These products are not made for babies to sleep in and are dangerous because babies are not sleeping flat on their backs. The best place for a baby to sleep is on their back, in a crib that has a firm mattress and is free from any loose bedding.

To read more about safe sleep practices, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website here

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