Child car seats: the dangers for newborn babies

Recent research suggests an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in newborns and premature babies who spend long periods in child car seats...

Child car seats: the dangers for newborn babies

In 2016 the Lullaby Trust charity funded research into how well newborn babies coped with spending time in an infant carrier in a car. The findings suggested there were potential dangers, in particular that of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), among young and premature babies who spent long periods in child car seats.

The research looked at a number of new babies who were ready to leave hospital and assessed how well they coped with being in a car seat, both when it was stationary and with some vibration to mimic a car being driven. This was the first time the effects of vibration on babies in car seats had been investigated.

The research report stated that when an infant was placed in a seat at a 40deg position and subjected to vibration similar to that of being in a car, it could have an adverse effect on their blood oxygen levels and could squash their lungs.

Child car seats: the dangers for newborn babies

As a result, the trust recommends the following:

  • Parents should avoid making long journeys with young babies in car seats, or take regular breaks.

  • Use an extra mirror or have another adult in the back with the baby to ensure you can keep an eye on them at all times.

  • Only use a car seat when travelling and transfer your baby to a suitable, flat sleeping place once they are out of the car.

  • Consider one of the lie-flat infant carriers on sale, such as the Kiddy Evo Luna, which is a rear-facing seat that has a lie-flat position for newborns, and the Jane Matrix, which can be used flat as a carrycot and fitted sideways along a car’s rear seat.