Many parents have wondered how their infant can breathe while
slumped over in a car seat. Now a new study shows that parents are
right to wonder: infants in car seats and car beds have mildly
lower oxygen levels than babies in cribs.
Does this mean you should stop using the car seat? Absolutely
not, says Dr. Bernard Kinane, senior author of the study and chief
of the pediatric pulmonary unit at MassGeneral Hospital for
Children. "For safe transportation, nothing beats them."
But when infants are not in a vehicle, it's wiser to take them
out of the car seat. "The longer you put them in the car seat, the
more likely you are to have problems," Kinane says.
"We found that about 20 percent of the babies (in car seats) had
lower oxygen saturations. In car beds, where they're lying flat, 27
percent had mildly lower oxygen levels," Kinane says. "So we think
it's sitting up and kinking the head, but also the buckle being too
Fixing the problem is fairly simple, Kinane says. Parents should
loosen the straps when babies strapped into a car seat are placed
into something such as a shopping cart. And only use car seats
outside of vehicles when absolutely
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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