New parents are warned not to keep their babies under the age of six weeks in car seats for more than 30 minutes at a time after survey reveals 75% did not know it was dangerous
- The new poll of 2,000 adults was commissioned by Churchill Car Insurance
- It found younger parents were more aware of the risks than those above 35
- ‘Car seats are not designed for longer periods of infant sleep,’ an expert said
New parents have been warned not to keep their newborns in car seats for long periods of time.
A survey found three quarters of parents did not know a stretch of more than 30 minutes at a time in that sleeping position can cause breathing difficulties for babies until the age of six weeks.
And about two thirds did not know they should take a proper lengthy break of at least 15 minutes every two hours when travelling with a newborn, research for Churchill Car Insurance found.
The poll of 2,000 adults also found that younger parents were more aware of the risks than those aged 35 and older.
A survey found three quarters of parents did not know a stretch of 30 minutes at a time in that sleeping position can cause breathing difficulties for babies until the age of six weeks
Safety expert Professor Peter Fleming, from the University of Bristol, said: ‘Although it is very important for parents to always use an appropriate car seat for young babies on car journeys, the baby should always be taken out of the seat and placed in a suitable sleeping place such as a cot or Moses basket after the journey.
‘Car seats are not designed for longer periods of infant sleep.
‘In the first four-to-six weeks after birth parents should try to avoid car journeys of more than 30 minutes for their baby, and whenever possible an adult should travel with the baby in the back seat of the car to keep a check on their position and well-being.
‘If longer journeys are unavoidable, please take regular breaks in which the baby is taken out of the car seat as much as possible.’
Professor Fleming helped conduct previous research funded by the Lullaby Trust which found that newborns sat at a 40 degree angle for as little as half an hour can be affected due to their ‘scrunched up’ position.
Alex Borgnis, head of car insurance at Churchill, said: ‘Driving with newborns is usually unavoidable and parents shouldn’t be worried every time they need to do so – after all, the safest way for a baby to travel in a car is in a car seat, and it is also required by law.
‘There are some simple steps parents can take to help reduce any potential risk.
‘Avoid driving for long distances with a newborn baby as much as you can and if you need to, remember to stop regularly and, if possible, have an adult in the back of the car to keep an eye on your baby and check it isn’t slumping forward.
‘It is also important to remember not to use car seats as sleeping aids, however tempting it may be to leave a baby sleeping.’
PARENTS TOLD NOT TO LET CHILDREN SLEEP IN CAR SEATS AT HOME
Parents were told in May not to let their babies sleep in car seats at home because of the risk of them suffocating.
Researchers made the warning after reviewing around 12,000 sleep-related deaths in infants over the course of a decade.
Nearly 220 youngsters died while in car seats – but only 0.2 per cent of the deaths occurred while they were travelling in a vehicle.
More than half of car seat deaths occurred when the seat was being used at the child’s home.
The most common cause of deaths in car seats is positional asphyxia, the team at University of Virginia Children’s Hospital warned.