Car seats warn­ing for ba­bies

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

SCI­EN­TISTS are ad­vis­ing that par­ents should not use car seats for very young ba­bies for more than 30 min­utes — as they could be at risk of suf­fo­cat­ing.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers ad­vise that ba­bies should not be left in the seats for more than two hours. Fitting a car seat for the first trip home is a rite of pas­sage for many new mums and dads.

But doc­tors warn that very young ba­bies whose neck mus­cles are not strong enough to stop their heads flop­ping for­ward could stop breath­ing. this in­creases the risk they will be un­able to breathe — with po­ten­tially fa­tal re­sults.

Doc­tors and char­i­ties are calling for all car seat mak­ers to pro­vide con­sis­tent in­for­ma­tion to par­ents to warn them of the dan­gers of long car jour­neys with very young ba­bies.

Dr Peter Flem­ing, a pe­di­a­tri­cian at Bris­tol Univer­sity, car­ried out re­search that shows new­born ba­bies may be at risk in car seats.

He said yes­ter­day that there should be sep­a­rate ad­vice for very young ba­bies.he said: “If you can avoid a jour­ney, it’s prob­a­bly bet­ter to do so, re­stricted to no more than half an hour or so.

“But try to avoid un­nec­es­sary car jour­neys with young ba­bies.”

Re­search car­ried out by Dr Flem­ing and col­leagues used a lab­o­ra­tory in a lab­o­ra­tory to repli­cate the ef­fects of sleep­ing in a car seat dur­ing a car jour­ney at 30mph.

Af­ter half an hour in the seat the amounts of oxy­gen in the blood of ba­bies un­der two months old were found to have dropped “sig­nif­i­cantly” while their heart rates in­creased.

The au­thors said their find­ings still mean ba­bies should travel in a prop­erly se­cured child seat dur­ing car jour­neys — as is re­quired by law. But they ad­vise that an adult should sit next to the baby to make sure the in­fant is breath­ing prop­erly.

The au­thors warn: “There have been re­ports of deaths of in­fants who have been left in a sit­ting po­si­tion, in­clud­ing in car seats - both on jour­neys, and when par­ents have used it as an al­ter­na­tive to a pushchair or cot for the in­fant to sleep in.

The Lul­laby Trust’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Francine Bates, speak­ing at a sem­i­nar on car seat safety, said: “We be­lieve that par­ents should be given in­formed and ev­i­dence based ad­vice when they pur­chase car seats.

“There is a ten­dency to fo­cus on how best to fit a car seat and strap a baby in, but in­for­ma­tion on the po­ten­tial health risks as­so­ci­ated with driv­ing long dis­tances is not usu­ally of­fered.

“We ad­vise par­ents that they should avoid trav­el­ling in cars with pre-term and very young ba­bies for long pe­ri­ods of time.

“Ideally, a se­cond adult should travel in the back of the car with the baby and a mir­ror should be used so the driver can keep an eye on the baby at all times.

“If a baby changes its po­si­tion and slumps for­ward, then par­ents should im­me­di­ately stop and take the baby out of the car seat.

“We are de­lighted that in­fant car seat man­u­fac­tur­ers work­ing with our­selves and the Baby Prod­uct As­so­ci­a­tion have com­mit­ted to pro­duc­ing stronger guide­lines with us.” — Daily Mail

Par­ents should not use car seats for very young ba­bies for more than 30 min­utes, ex­perts warn.

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