TRYING to figure out how to get your newborn into a car seat is something all parents will have struggled with at one point or another.
But did you know that keeping your little one in a car seat for longer than 30 minutes could put them at risk of suffocation?
A new study has found that 31 per cent of parents are unaware of the risks of keeping newborns in car seats for extended periods of time
A new study by Churchill Car Insurance has revealed that only 31 per cent of parents are aware that long periods of time in a car seat can cause problems with babies’ breathing and increase their heart rate.
What’s more, a similar proportion also didn’t realise that they should be taking a 15 minute break every two hours when travelling with a newborn.
Three quarters of parents surveyed said were unaware that travelling for longer than 30 minutes at a time can result in breathing difficulties for young babies.
Surprisingly, the poll of 2,000 adults found that younger parents were more aware of these travelling risks than those aged 35 or older.
Tips for safely putting a baby in a car seat:
- It is dangerous and illegal for a baby to be placed in a rear-facing baby seat in a front passenger seat which has an airbag
- It’s always safer for children to travel in the backseat of a car
- Ensure your baby is securely strapped in to the seat according to the manufcaturer’s instructions
- Choose a child’s car seat based on their heigh and weight
- Baby car seats fall under the group 0+ catrgory – these rear-facing seats are suitable for children up to 15 months who weigh under 14kg
- All car seats in the UK must be EU approved – look for the ‘E’ label on the seat before buying
Professor Peter Fleming, from the University of Bristol, helped conduct previous research funded by the Lullaby Trust which found that newborns sat at a 40 degree angle for as little as half an hour can be affected due to their “scrunched up” position.
He said: “Although it is very important for parents to always use an appropriate car seat for young babies on car journeys, the baby should always be taken out of the seat and placed in a suitable sleeping place such as a cot or Moses basket after the journey. Car seats are not designed for longer periods of infant sleep.
“In the first four-to-six weeks after birth parents should try to avoid car journeys of more than 30 minutes for their baby, and whenever possible an adult should travel with the baby in the back seat of the car to keep a check on their position and well-being.
“If longer journeys are unavoidable, please take regular breaks in which the baby is taken out of the car seat as much as possible.”
Alex Borgnis, head of car insurance at Churchill, said: “Driving with newborns is usually unavoidable and parents shouldn’t be worried every time they need to do so – after all, the safest way for a baby to travel in a car is in a car seat, and it is also required by law.
“There are some simple steps parents can take to help reduce any potential risk. Avoid driving for long distances with a newborn baby as much as you can and if you need to, remember to stop regularly and, if possible, have an adult in the back of the car to keep an eye on your baby and check it isn’t slumping forward.
“It is also important to remember not to use car seats as sleeping aids, however tempting it may be to leave a baby sleeping.”
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