A study has found that baby “sitting devices” like car seats, swings and strollers could lead to injury and even death if babies are allowed to sleep in them.
Published in The Journal of Pediatrics, the study examined 47 cases of children under the age of 2 who died while in a device designed for them to sit in or to be carried in. Two-thirds of the cases were in car seats, and the remaining deaths occurred in slings, swings, bouncers and strollers.
In all the cases except for one, the cause of death was asphyxiation, which suggests that they were either strangled by the straps or they couldn’t breathe by the way their bodies were positioned. 52% of the deaths were caused by strangulation. These cases show that a baby could die in just 4 minutes of being left sleeping unsupervised in a sitting device.
Lead author Dr. Erich K. Batra of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center advised that parents remember a simple acronym whenever they leave their babies sleeping.
“When the baby is asleep, and you don’t have eyes on the baby, they should be ‘ABC’”, meaning when they are Alone, they should be on their Backs and in a Crib. He added that there has to be no loose bedding in the crib as well.
The study did not examine how often these deaths occur. “It is not like you are hearing about them everyday, but I think it is important that people know that they occur,” Batra told Live Science.
Experts urge parents to never leave their children unsupervised, whether asleep or awake, in a sitting device.
Sources: April 24, 2015. "Letting Babies Nap in Car Seat Could Be Deadly, Experts Warn". livescience.com April 24, 2015. "Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Baby Sleep in a Car Seat, Swing or Bouncer". parents.com