Don’t leave me in my car seat when I’m not travelling
Car seats are designed for safety while travelling; they are not a main sleeping place for your baby. We advise the maximum time advised for any baby to be in an infant car seat is two hours. It is important to be aware of baby’s position when in the car seat. Look out for baby’s head dropping down to their chest which can restricted air-flow to the baby’s lungs.
Car seat retailers should inform buyers of the “two hour rule” which recommend that a baby should not be in a car seat for longer than 2 hours, within a 24 hour time period.
Take frequent short breaks, even if it means waking the baby and don’t use the seat for sleeping outside of the car. When arriving at your destination, take your baby out of their car seat and if they have fallen asleep and you want to let them sleep longer, transfer them to a firm, flat sleeping surface.
Remember that cars can heat up very quickly, so consider the amount of clothing your baby is wearing. Try to remove outdoor clothing if possible, particularly hats and snow suits, as young babies cannot regulate their own temperature. Thick layers can negatively affect the safety of the car seat harness.
Young babies should be supervised by an adult during journeys if at all possible. An adult passenger can travel in the rear of a car sitting alongside baby or baby can travel rearward facing in the passenger seat if the passenger airbag can be turned off. If baby is travelling alone in the rear of the car in a rearward facing seat with the driver, a second mirror in the rear of the car can be used so that baby’s face can be seen during the journey.
In addition to not using a car seat as a sleep space for baby, it is important that car seats are never placed on high or unstable surfaces (such as a bed). If a car seat is placed on table, the seat may fall and injure baby. If placed onto a soft, unstable surface, the seat may topple, which may lead to accidental suffocation.
Things to consider
“What about pram chassis with adaptors for car seats?” – Although convenient, the two-hour rule applies to car seats used in other locations, not just cars.
Research in this area is ongoing – but as a rule, the younger the baby the more frequent the breaks you should take when travelling
For more information and advice, see http://protectchild.co.uk/incar/seat_guide.php
Evidence For Our Car Seat Message
“Sitting devices, such as car seats, strollers, swings, infant carriers and slings, are not recommended for routine sleep in the hospital or at home, particularly for young infants.” *
There is limited research into the use of car seats and sudden unexpected death in Infancy.