Car Seats Lower Oxygen Levels for Infants

Car Seats Lower Oxygen Levels for Infants
Monday August 24, 2009

Healthy newborns show significantly lower oxygen saturation levels when in their car seats versus in cribs, according to a study published in the most recent Pediatrics magazine. While this information sounds scary for parents, the study's researchers concluded that car seats should be used only for travel and not as a replacement for a crib.

The angled position of the car seat plus the lack of neck control means that even healthy infants can have some trouble breathing when they're in a car seat for a long time. The study measured oxygen levels of 200 2-day-old infants as they were laying in a crib, a car bed and an infant car seat. These infants had the highest average oxygen saturation in the crib (97.9%), while the lowest average oxygen saturation was in the car seat (95.7%). Infants in this study also spent more time with oxygen levels below 95% when in the car seat (23.9% average total time) versus the crib (6.5%).

What does this study mean for your baby? If you're only using your baby's car seat when he or she is in the car, not much. This study isn't suggesting that babies shouldn't ride in car seats in the car. If you're letting baby snooze in the car seat after you're home, or using a carrier-style car seat as a substitute crib, these study results do suggest that long, unnecessary stretches in a car seat could cause harm since it's harder for young babies to breathe in that position. The angle of your baby's car seat can also play a role in neck position, which can affect breathing, so it's also a good idea to double check the manual and any on-board leveling indicators to be sure baby's car seat is installed at the correct angle.

-Article from Heather's Baby Products Blog