I thought this article was worth posting on my blog today. This article was in today's Ottawa Citizen and talks about how babies are more vulnerable to sudden death when seated in car seats for long periods of time. This was always a worry for me so since my son was born almost 2 years ago, I always sat in the back with him when my husband or someone else drives. Now, it is more a habit, but I still sit in the back with him to keep him company. This is a good article so please read!
Infants at risk when seated, study warns
CHARLIE FIDELMAN, The Gazette
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2007
Very young babies are vulnerable to sudden death when seated, a Montreal respirologist warned Wednesday.
Newborns should not be left seated for long periods of time, cautioned Aurore Cote, a specialist in respiratory medicine at the Montreal Children's Hospital.
The warning holds true whether the babies are placed in infant car seats or in other "sitting devices" designed for children.
Cote's study, published today in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, initially aimed to confirm whether premature infants were vulnerable to sudden infant death syndrome (defined as the sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant) when seated.
But that was not the case, Cote said.
But babies less than a month old were almost four times as likely to die suddenly while seated, compared with older babies.
The finding is based on an analysis of all cases of sudden unexplained deaths of infants, age 12 months or younger, in Quebec between 1991 and 2000.
Of the 534 babies who died during that period, 508 cases were investigated; the cause of death remained unknown in 409 instances. Of the 508 infants, 17 died while seated. About half the seat-related deaths occurred during a car trip.
The duration of a child's stay in a seat is significant, although experts don't know "how long is too long," Cote said.
Other studies have shown a baby's level of blood oxygen can drop after one hour in a sitting position. "Two things can happen: The lungs can compress or the head sliding forward can create an obstruction of the airway," Cote explained.
The 17 infants who died had spent about 90 minutes seated.
Even though seated babies accounted for only 3.3 per cent of the 508 sudden infant deaths investigated, extra care should be taken for very young babies in any type of infant seat, Cote said.
"Limit the time in a sitting position," she warned.
Often, infant seats do double duty as a baby carrier or a portable bed.
"Some infants spent up to 16 hour per day in infant seats," Cote reported.
The study strengthens previous findings and pediatricians' recommendations to parents of newborns, said the Children's Safety Association of Canada, which welcomed the study.
Association president Andy Brisebois called for a redesign of the infant car seat to better accommodate infants' heads.
Brisebois added the same warning applies for baby seats as for cribs or playpens: Avoid putting soft, fluffy pillows, comforters, stuffed toys or bumper pads in with the infant, as these can interfere with proper air circulation around the baby's face.