What you need to know about babies sleeping in car seats
The Lullaby Trust answers our questions about babies sleeping in car seats
Car seats: Is it safe for babies to sleep in them?
- The Lullaby Trust help us understand latest advice
Car seat safety is a huge issue for parents and parent-to-be with news stories warning of babies being at risk from impact if strapped into a car seat in a thick coat to news that 31 children’s deaths (aged two and under) were related to being strapped into a car seat for too long.
The various stories in the news can lead to confusion on what is best when it comes to car seat safety, so we put some questions to The Lullaby Trust, the charity dedicated to safer sleep for babies, to clarify the safety issues surrounding letting your baby sleep in a car seat.
Research and Information Manager Lucy Lyus, from The Lullaby Trust answered a few questions for us.
What is considered to be the longest a baby should be strapped in a car seat?
Car seats are not recommended for long periods of sleep, so if your baby falls asleep they should be taken out of the car seat as soon as the journey is finished.
What is your advice for families doing a long journey?
We always recommend that babies sleep on a firm and flat surface. If you have one available to you, place your baby in a car seat that allows your baby to sleep in a flat position. Remember that cars can also heat up quickly, so check that your baby isn’t wearing too many extra layers or hats as young babies don’t have the ability to regulate their own temperature. If possible, take regular short breaks during your journey to give your baby time out of the car seat.
Do you advise parents to never let babies sleep in the car seat?
We can’t tell parents not to let their babies sleep in a car seat, as we know that in practice this is near impossible to avoid, particularly on very long journeys. Our best advice is to remove your baby from the car seat as soon as you reach your destination.
Is risk high for younger babies?
Young babies don’t have the ability to support their heads upright, so being in a car seat for an extended period of time could pose a risk to the baby’s wellbeing.
The advice from The Lullaby Trust is clear that yes babies fall asleep in car seats, but it’s important to ensure they won’t over heat and as soon as you’re able to, take them out of the seat to sleep.