A news story that I have been hearing on the radio all morning…
Dangers of infants sleeping upright in carseats
The death of an infant in West Island Pointe Claire almost a year ago is prompting a Quebec coroner to warn against the risks of putting little babies to sleep in car seats.
A two month old boy in Pointe Claire died last February 23 after his mother put him to sleep in a carseat placed in his bassinette, hoping that would calm the crying colicky infant. An autopsy revealed that the baby died of asphyxiation. Quebec coroner Dr. Jacques Robinson says putting an infant in such an upright position to sleep is dangerous, since the baby’s head tends to fall forward.
“The upper airways are obstructed.”
Robinson says about 17 such deaths have happened over the past ten years and they could have been prevented.
“It’s not frequent, but when it happens, it’s very dramatic.”
He warns that car seats should be used only in the car since they help prevent deaths in accidents.
“We recommend to go with this but not for sleeping or using the carseat as a bed.”
And Robinson advises parents should take care to check on their babies in the car seat if they’re sleeping, to make frequent stops on long trips and to take them out at rest stops.
The carseat along with so many other devices (the swing, bouncy chair, bumbo seat) are so overused… parents use the carseats in the car then clip the carseat from the car into the stroller, then back in the car…. many times I have seen babies being bottle fed with the bottle propped up so the baby is not even taken out to be fed….
It is not in the printed version of the article but the coroner says something like this… “use the car seat in the car and then pick them up” and that babies should be not be in carseats for more than 1 hour…
update… here is a new article that just came up on the CBC with more details…
Parents should not leave young infants sleeping in car seats for long periods of time, said a Quebec coroner who looked into the death of a two-month-old boy who suffocated when his mom placed him in a car seat after a restless night.
The recommendation comes two years after Montreal researchers warned very young babies are vulnerable to sudden infant death syndrome if they spend too much time in a seated position.
“The car seat is for the car. It is not for the bed or sleeping. It is for a car,” said coroner Dr. Jacques Robinson on Wednesday.
‘The head of the baby is heavier than the body. The neck muscle is not straight enough to let the neck rise. So, it falls.’—Dr. Jacques Robinson, Quebec coronerThe case that prompted the coroner’s recommendation happened in February 2008 in Pointe-Claire on Montreal’s west island.
A mother woke at 3 a.m. to feed her baby who was crying. She put the baby back to sleep in his crib. At 6 a.m., the baby started crying again.
The mother used a trick she had used before: she placed the baby in his car seat and then put the car seat in the crib.
An hour later, the mother checked in on the baby and found that he wasn’t breathing. His eyes were glassy and his skin had a white, waxy appearance.
The mother called 911, and the parents started CPR on the baby. The baby was pronounced dead in hospital.
Robinson determined the baby died of asphyxiation due to an obstruction of his upper airway and blamed the baby’s cramped posture in the seat for reducing his ability to breathe.
“The head of the baby is heavier than the body. The neck muscle is not straight enough to let the neck rise so it falls,” said Robinson.
In his report, Robinson notes there are risks to leaving a child sleeping in any seated position. He encourages parents to put their children to sleep horizontally at all times, preferably in a crib.
He also advises parents to move their babies frequently when they are in a car seat in a vehicle. He recommends parents take their children out of the seat every hour while on a long trip.