The Dangers of Infant Car Seats and Baby Slings

baby car seat safetyI'm absolutely guilty of carrying a sleeping infant in a car seat from the car into the house and letting him stay in there until he wakes up from a nap. But more than one study has said infants are in danger if you are not monitoring their breathing while in an infant car seat.

The people at Sleeping Baby Productions just returned from a conference that not only tackled baby car seat sleeping, but baby carriers as well.

While the information they presented said that most baby carriers are safer than car seats for a sleeping baby under the age of 4 months, there were many other points to be made about babies and sling safety that could save your baby's life.

  • Car seats are for use to secure an infant when riding in a car. They are less safe than a baby carrier when used outside their intended purpose as car safety devices.
  • Infants are safer in their caregivers' arms than left in a device (car seat, stroller, bouncy seat, crib, swing, etc.).
  • Carriers that offer correct positioning are far safer than ones that promote incorrect positioning (i.e., forcing baby's chin to his chest or awkward reclining holds).
  • It is vital that caregivers be aware of their infant's breathing at all times.
  • It's okay to wake the baby to take him out of the car seat. Deep sleep is a dangerous time for infants; SIDS invariably occurs during deep sleep, and other breathing difficulties are also a greater risk during deep sleep.
  • Infants should always be visible and kissable in a carrier.
  • Any carrier should hold the baby the way you would hold the baby in arms.

If you carry your baby in a sling, you cannot let his head fall down to his chest -- it blocks the airway and can cause hypoxia, resulting in ADHD, delayed development, decreased IQ, and impaired attention. The worst case scenario, as we've seen in these sling deaths, is positional asphyxia.

The most important point made in this piece was you, and all of your baby's caregivers, must be aware of baby's position and breathing at all times.

Do you use a sling or let your baby sleep in the car seat for long periods of time?


Image via Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

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