Letting babies sleep unattended in car seats and other devices can be deadly: study

Cincinnati – Letting an infant sleep unsupervised in a car seat, sling, swing, bouncer or stroller has resulted in injury and death, according to a new study.

Researchers examined Consumer Product Safety Commission records of 47 deaths of children younger than 2 that occurred in sitting or carrying devices from 2004 to 2008. All but one of the records listed the cause of death as asphyxia. Car seats were involved in 67 percent of the cases, and 52 percent of car seat deaths were due to strangulation from straps.

Infant sitting and carrying devices are not designed for unmonitored sleeping, the researchers warned. However, they noted that an infant in a properly positioned car seat with correctly attached straps is “at little risk from a suffocation injury,” an April 24 press release states.

The researchers shared tips for using the devices, including:

  • Don’t leave a child alone in a sitting or carrying device.
  • Fully buckle the straps after putting a child in a car seat.
  • Don’t put a car seat on a soft or unstable surface.

The study was published online April 27 in The Journal of Pediatrics.