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Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands pediatrician shares new report about dangers associated with babies sleeping in sitting devices

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Think it is safe to leave your sleeping baby in a car safety seat or bouncer?

When a car seat is not being used for its intended purpose of transporting a child, there is new evidence that a child could be injured. According to a recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, several hundred infants die each year in sitting devices like car seats, strollers, bouncers or swings when those devices are used improperly for routine sleep.

“These devices were designed for specific purposes, such as transportation, feeding and playing,” said Susan Lamb, MD, Child Abuse pediatrician at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands. “Parents should not rely on them in place of a crib or a bassinet.”

When sleeping babies are in these devices, they can fall from an elevated surface, such as a table or chair, or can slip onto a soft surface and suffocate. “These are preventable tragedies,” said Lamb, who is on South Carolina’s Child Fatality Advisory Committee.

According to the committee’s 2018 report, unsafe sleeping conditions is the leading cause of injury-related death among children under 1 year of age, accounting for 84 percent of unexpected deaths.

Safe Kids Midlands recommends that parents, grandparents and caregivers always follow the ABCs of safe sleep for babies: 

  • A – Alone,
  • B – On their backs,
  • C – In a crib, for a safe sleep, every sleep.

Tips to keep your sleeping baby safe:

  • Children who fall asleep in a car seat while being driven should remain in the car seat until they are no longer traveling.
  • If they are still asleep when the car ride is over, they should be placed in a crib or bassinet.
  • When traveling, take along a portable crib or bassinet to use once you arrive at your destination.
  • Infants should never sleep unsupervised in sitting devices like car seats, bouncers or strollers.
  • Place infants into their empty cribs on their backs once asleep unless being held by an awake and alert adult.
  • Never place your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa or armchair. This is an extremely dangerous place for your baby to sleep.
  • Co-sleeping is not recommended for any babies.

Lamb urges parents to educate grandparents, babysitters and child care providers about safe sleep. “Although it may seem convenient to let your sleeping baby stay in a sitting device instead of moving to a crib or bassinet, it is not safe,” said Lamb.

About Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands
Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands is South Carolina’s first children's hospital and has more than 150,000 children’s visits each year. It offers more than 30 subspecialties to meet the unique health care needs of children and has central South Carolina's only Children’s Emergency Center. With more than 350 professionals who work exclusively with children, Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands has a team of highly skilled and trained experts unmatched by any hospital in the Midlands. Prisma Health Children’s Hospital–Midlands is the place to go for children's medical care, because the best care matters.

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