Parents warned not to leave babies in car seats for too long

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New parents have been warned about the dangers of leaving their babies in car seats for extended periods of time after a survey showed many didn’t know infants can suffer breathing difficulties in them.

A poll of 2,000 adults found 31% knew that using car seats for a long period can lead to problems with babies’ breathing and a higher heart rate, research for Churchill car insurance found.

A similar proportion didn’t know they should take a 15-minute break every two hours when travelling with a newborn.

About 75% were not aware of advice that they should not travel for longer than 30 minutes with a newborn.

According to the poll, younger parents were more aware of the risks than those aged 35 and above.

Professor Peter Fleming, from the University of Bristol, conducted previous research on the impact of car seats on babies, and found that newborns can be affected by the 40 degree angle in as little as half an hour, because they are “scrunched up”.

He 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.

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“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.”

Alex Borgnis, head of car insurance at Churchill, said driving with newborns is usually unavoidable, but advised parents to follow simple steps to keep babies safe in car seats.

Parents warned not to leave babies in car seats for too long

New parents have been warned about the dangers of leaving their babies in car seats for extended periods of time after a survey showed many didn’t know infants can suffer breathing difficulties in them.

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