Tuesday, February 04, 2014
MOM!!! Please take me out of the car seat- I can’t breathe
Many mothers complain that their babies appear to be overtired and irritable with many thinking that it is colic. A study on 200 infants has shown that infants in a bucket type car seat for prolonged periods can cause oxygen deprivation. A simple car seat insert that maintains a baby’s head in a neutral position without its chin touching its chest reduces the severity of hypoxic events while the infant is in the car seat, but does not reduce the overall number of hypoxic events. Often the babies head flops forward or off to the side occluding the airway causing lack of oxygen to baby. Many parents will use head supports to prevent the flopping forward but ultimately the best idea so your child have sufficient oxygen is limiting car seat time by shorter travel times- meaning more stops along the route and limiting ‘bucket seat time’. Other ways to decrease the time in the seat is to remove the child from the car seat when you have arrived at your destination and carry the child- remove them from the car seat and carry or baby wear your child- especially if they are sleeping. According to the study, reported online in Pediatrics, mean oxygen saturation declined significantly following 60 minutes in a car bed (96.3%) and 60 minutes in a car seat (95.7%), compared with 30 minutes in a hospital crib (97.9%, P<0.001).The average minimal oxygen saturation and total time spent with an oxygen saturation below 95% also differed significantly in car seats or car beds, versus a hospital crib. Similar results came from a study of 50 infants who stayed in each position for 120 minutes. The cars seat is only designed for car travel and not meant to replace the bed itself. In their report, the authors of the study noted that previous research has shown that healthy infants may develop respiratory compromise while in car seats. The results give pause for concern because "even mild airway obstruction has been associated with behavioral problems and IQ deficits," the authors said. Car beds and seats "are often used for many hours at a time for reasons other than travel," they added. "Infants placed in these devices for prolonged periods of time are, thus, at increased risk for recurrent hypoxic events."The researchers concluded that because car seat use, even with an insert, is associated with an increase in desaturation events, caregivers should not use car seats to sleep infants outside of the car. They also should not keep infants in car seats for any longer than absolutely necessary and should always attend to them while they are in the devices.
Dr. Joelle Johnson practices at Family First Chiropractic and Wellness, 142 Erickson drive, Red Deer T4R 2X3
Source reference: Kornhauser CL, et al "A comparison of respiratory patterns in healthy term infants placed in car safety seats and beds" Pediatrics 2009; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-0160.
Randomized Controlled Trial of a Car Safety Seat Insert to Reduce Hypoxia in Term Infants