How long is safe for a baby to stay in a car seat?
As you may be aware, a recent study undertaken by the Lullaby Trust, in conjunction with the NHS Foundation Trust and University of Southampton, has recommended that babies and infants should not be kept in their car seat for long periods of time. In fact, the recommended length is no longer than 2 hours.
This 2-hour rule is due to a number of discoveries made during the study, that found that car movement combined with the angle of the car seat (which can often leave the baby in a scrunched-up position) can significantly increase their heart and respiratory rate, as well as decreasing their oxygen saturation, which can lead to breathing difficulties.
However, car journeys are an important part of our day-to-day parenting life, and car seats are an essential safety precaution, so how can you keep your little one safe in their car seat?
If you are traveling for a long time, ensure that you include a number of stops on your journey, taking your baby out of the car seat every time. A break every 2 hours is ideal, as this will make sure your baby is not sitting for more than a couple of hours in the same upright position.
Never use your car seat as a bed alternative, a regular place to sleep should be a cot, crib or moses basket. Obviously, you cannot help if your baby falls asleep in the car seat whilst you’re driving, but just make sure they are not asleep in the same position for longer than 2 hours.
If you are using your car seat as part of a travel system, essentially using the car seat as a pram, ensure that you don’t keep your baby in the seat for longer than 2 hours. If you know you will be out and about for a long time, then make sure you are using a carrycot or pram seat rather than a car seat.