Let’s face it, babies can fall asleep in car seats. If we don’t know how to educate our children, the product we use for keeping babies safe inside the car can become a safety hazard!
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How can you keep your baby safe when he falls asleep in a car seat?
Let me show it to you!
We must remember, however, that car seats are not designed to be safe sleeping arrangements. Stay with me! Car seats are crash tested, designed and sold to transport babies safely and protect them in case of an accident. If the car seat is not your preferred method of sleeping, Cara Babies may be a good alternative.
The number one priority to keep babies safe in the car seat is to open up their airway!
Our squishy babies are our favorite. But, the inside of their bodies is just as squishy. Caregivers are the ones who provide structure and support for their babies until they can use their little muscles on their own. Even though the muscles don’t work independently, the baby can’t lift his or her neck. A tiny airway is also hidden within that neck. It’s the same size as a drinking straw. Safe sleep in a car is possible only if the airway is not too large.
How can we protect our airway?
1. Double-check your recline.
It is a common belief that safe sleeping is possible on a flat surface. It is, except in the car. Car seats are specifically designed to keep children in a safe position for breathing and protect their neck and spine in case of an accident. It is important to install them at the right angle for safety.
2. Buckle inside and out of the car.
I have worked with many families and I know that buckling a baby was not intuitive. It’s not! It’s not! You don’t want your baby to have to figure it out at the hospital.
When your baby becomes Earth-side, remember that he was in an extremely comfortable environment in the womb. Car seat harnesses not only keep your baby’s tiny body in the correct position in case of an injury, but they also provide that cozy feeling (much like a swaddle). A 2015 Journal of Pediatrics study found that babies are less likely to be strangled or suffocated if car seats are used according to manufacturer guidelines. Baby is also breathing easily so you can breathe easy.
3. Do not add after-market products.
Although there is a federal crash standard for after-market car seats, it does not exist. The seat’s purpose is completely defeated if it is placed around, behind, or directly in front of your child. It was designed to protect your child as it is. You shouldn’t try to re-engineer a car seat that you have already paid quite a bit for.
4. When you are outside the car, keep your eyes on your baby.
But what about when you aren’t in your car? Although we know that it is safer to place your sleepy children on a firm, flat surface (or your arms, or baby wear) when you get home, busy parents often find that home is not always the destination.
5. It is not wrong to take strange positions
My most frequently asked question, and my top concern about car seats, is the neck and head position. We can only imagine how incontinence a child must feel when their neck is kinked. Remember, a child isn’t a small adult. They are all soft. They have different aches and pains than we do.
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What does this mean?
You must ensure that:
- There are no health concerns.
- The car seat can be reclined correctly.
- It is being used correctly.
- No aftermarket products have been added to your order.
- The baby is in your direct line of sight.
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I can attest to the importance of safety and convenience. Not being able to get out of the house while juggling other children or running errands. Your children’s safety is paramount. Even with all this, scary things can still happen. We’ve all seen the worst. We don’t believe that this will ever happen to us. But it could happen if we don’t control what is possible.