By Julie Watts

Julie WattsJulie Watts NewsMom is the KPIX Consumer-Investigative reporter and a mom. Her #NewsMom Blog on CBSSF offers a unique perspective on issues facing Bay Area parents. 

Julie’s independent website
features “News, Reviews and Resources for Parents by Parents Who Are Journalists.” 

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(CBS-SF #NewsMom Blog) – Every time I see a mom pushing a sleeping baby in a car seat-stroller combo, I want to run up and warn her that she’s putting her baby in danger! I don’t, but I don’t feel good about it.

Following several studies and several high-profile infant deaths, a growing number of experts now warn that letting babies sleep in a car seat outside of the car can be dangerous, even deadly.

Instead, parents should leave the car seat in the car and use a stroller, bassinet or crib that allows the baby to sleep flat on his or her back.

Sleep related deaths are the most common cause of death for infants. Several studies have found an increased risk of asphyxiation for babies who are  left to sleep in their car seats— either because they’re strangled by lose straps or have slouched into a position that compromises their breathing.

As a result, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the American Academy of Pediatrics and many, many others warn you should never let a baby sleep in a car seat outside of the car—especially with lose or unbuckled straps.

Now, I realize it is unrealistic for many parents to go out and buy a new stroller seat… which is why I don’t stop random parents to warn them.

I don’t want to instill unnecessary fear and I realize that the car seat-stroller combo is often most affordable option for families. But then I think about baby Devon and Shepard’s parents, or the many others whose children have suffocated while sleeping in their car seat, and I know I would have wanted someone to warn me.

According to the CDC’s National Infant Sleep Position Study, the dramatic decrease in the number of SIDS-related deaths since the 90’s directly correlates with the dramatic increase in the number of parents who place babies to sleep flat on their backs.

Don’t get me wrong, I realize millions of children have survived sleeping in car seats (including mine) and we all know “you should never wake a sleeping baby”.

But I also realize that the sleeping-in-the-car-seat-phenomena is fairly new. Our parents didn’t let us sleep in car seats (largely because we didn’t have them). In Europe, most parents still use lie-flat stroller seats or bassinet-strollers and many think we’re strange (or lazy) for refusing to remove our kids from car seats.

Experts warn parents not to let babies sleep in car seats outside of the car.

And, asphyxiation isn’t the only reason many are now urging parents to leave the car seats in the car.

Continue reading on my NewsMom blog for the other reason… it may surprise you.


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