Study: Infant deaths in car seats most often occur when not traveling

Car seats should not be used as alternative to crib, AAP says

By Colette DuChanois - Web producer

There's a child safety alert involving infant car seats.

Leaving a baby in a car seat when they're not in a vehicle can pose risks, according to a new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Researchers looked at 11,779 sleep-related deaths of infants over a 10-year period. They found 3% of babies died while sleeping in sitting devices and, of those deaths, 62.9% happened in car seats.

Among the deaths in car seats, according to the study, fewer than 10% occurred in the context of the car seat being used as directed, such as the infant being strapped into an appropriately sized car seat and while the infant was being transported in a vehicle, either parked or in motion. 

The study concluded that "using car safety for sleep in nontraveling contexts may pose a risk to the infant."

According to the AAP, "while car seats are a safe and effective way of transporting an infant and should always be used when transporting an infant in a vehicle, they should not be used as an alternative to a crib or bassinet." 

Doctors recommend that a child who is still sleeping in a car seat once a vehicle reaches its destination should be placed in a crib or bassinet. 

The study, “Infant Deaths in Sitting Devices,” in the July 2019 issue of Pediatrics was published online Monday. 

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