1-Year-Old's Tragic Car Seat Death Is an Important Reminder for Parents

car seat
Not the car seat.
A sweet 1-year-old baby tragically died recently when he was left to sleep in his car seat (not in the car). According to police, Elizabeth Harding, who ran an unlicensed daycare, left Chase Hunter in his car seat while he was sleeping with the harness unbuckled. Chase moved in his sleep and accidentally wrapped the harness around his neck and was strangled. Harding has been charged with child neglect resulting in death.

No words can ever do justice to how devastating it is when an innocent child whose entire life was ahead of him passes away, but it's extremely important for parents and caretakers to know that a baby should not be left to sleep in a car seat.

This is something I've done myself before if my daughter stayed sleeping after being in the car, but after hearing about this poor, poor, sweet angel, I'll never do it again -- even if the harness is buckled.

More from The Stir: Mom Installs Car Seat Wrong, Charged With Baby's Death

According to safety expert Jane Husz: "A car seat is a car seat, it needs to be in the car. What happens is the child is in a car seat for an extended time they will slump down and any time they slump down their lungs will be compromised and breathing ability is diminished." She also added that the best place for a baby to be sleeping is in a crib. "It needs to be in a crib, or port-a-crib works fine. Just make sure there is a tight sheet, no other toys, or blankets, nothing in there." There are also many other important rules to car seat safety, which The Stir has conveniently highlighted. Please read, and please pass along.

It's always so incredibly heartbreaking when one innocent soul has to be used as an example of what we should or shouldn't be doing as parents, but again, this information is important -- not just for our babies, but so sweet little Chase didn't pass away in vain. Please share.

Have you ever left your child to sleep in the car seat?


Image via Nicole Fabian-Weber

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Halfa... Halfadozmom

I've never understood why babies can't be left in the seat, still buckled, if they're asleep. I mean, they are supposedly safe to sit in the car for a 6 hour cat ride

Halfa... Halfadozmom

Car ride but not safe for 45 minutes on the kitchen floor in the seat while i put away the groceries? (sorry took two posts, accidentally bumped submit button)

femal... femaleMIKE

I had no clue this was unsafe. 

I babysat my 3 month old nephew last weekend, when he fell asleep I put him in the car seat.  It seemed safer then my bed or sofa.  I won't do that anymore.

nonmember avatar Lilac

He died because he was at an unlicensed daycare! What good parents leaves there children in the hands of someone not licensed by the state for the caring of children.

youth... youthfulsoul

So sad. Can't even imagine.

chell... chellyelizabeth

It says that this child was left in the car seat UNBUCKLED and they moved. If properly buckled and checked on regularly they should be just as fine to sleep in the car seat on the floor as they were to sleep in the car seat in the car. Just as long as it's on the floor and not on the couch or a table where it can fall

nonmember avatar Angie

I agree completely with Halfadozmom.

If it's buckled and they're in the seat, I don't really see how it's unsafe. It being on the floor rather than in the car doesn't change the safety of it. Just keep an eye on them when they're in it.

nonmember avatar Alice Dubiel

When my son was younger he had pretty bad Asthma. When he would get sick he would have bad attacks. He was not always strong enough to cough up the mucus. Were were told to let him sleep in the semi upright position the infant seat provided to help keep his airways open. Never once did we have a close call of any kind. Common sense says buckle the safety harness, even if it is only to prevent the child from falling out. That poor baby is dead because of neglect.

nonmember avatar Amanda

I've many a time left my son buckled in the car seat alseep, and my son before that who is 8 now, never unbuckled, if they can sleep in the carseat during a long drive why not when not in the car.

corri... corrinacs

I know my sons slept mayn times in thier carseats.  I was not about to wake them up from thier naps (and risk a horrible afternoon) just to move him.  He was fine, I kept them buckled and on the floor NEAR me!  But I still feel for the baby :(. That's really sad and I can't imagine!

And I agree with some of hte other posters.  IF babies can't sleep in them, how are parents supposed to even take trips to the grocery store?  My kids would zonk out the minute we left our driveway!

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