A new report presented by a pediatric orthopedist at a pediatric conference in Washington is warning that newer models of child safety car seats, that double as baby carriers, may place children at a high risk of injuries. The risk comes from using the car safety seats outside the car. When these seats are placed on tables, counter tops, and soft surfaces like beds, the seats are likely to tip over injuring babies, and possibly suffocating them.
The report found that more than 8,700 babies suffer serious injuries every year when these car seats are used outside the car. Most injuries recorded in the study included head injuries, arm and leg fractures. The study looked at injuries that occurred between 2003 and 2007, and found that an estimated 680 babies a year suffered car seat injuries serious enough to require hospitalization. The researchers are calling for educating parents about the dangers posed when they use their car seats as baby carriers and baby beds, outside the car.
The use of car safety seats is estimated to have saved close to 9,000 lives over the past 30 years. However, the amount of time a baby spends in a car seat has also increased. Placing a baby in a car seat for long periods of time can also lead to the development of a condition called container syndrome, marked by weak muscles and a flat shape to the head.
Defective Car Seats can Increase Risk of Injuries
None of this must be taken to mean that child safety seats are dangerous. If used properly and according to manufacturers’ specifications, car safety seats can mean the difference between life and death for babies involved in an accident. Make sure however, that you choose a good quality car safety seat made by a reputed manufacturer. Defective car seats can actually increase the risk of an accident for the baby. Also make sure that you refer to the CPSC list of recalled car safety seats before you make a purchase.