Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Long Should Infants Be Left In Car Seats?

(SPM Wire) Car safety seats are one of the most effective ways to protect children from injury and death in the first years of life.

For the best protection in a crash, car seats require infants to be placed in an upright position. However, this posture can partially compress the chest wall and reduce airway size, resulting in lower levels of oxygen and breathing problems, according to new research published in the medical journal, "Pediatrics."

Never use a car seat as a replacement for a crib and only keep infants in these safety devices for protection during travel.

Researchers compared oxygen levels in 200 newborns while in a hospital crib, car bed and car seat. They found that babies seated in car seats for 60 minutes had lower oxygen levels in their blood than those lying on their backs in hospital cribs.

But parents shouldn't use the results of the new research as an excuse not to use car seats when traveling with small children or to position them in the seats in incorrect ways. Car safety seats have been proven to protect babies and small children from injury and death, stress experts.

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