A grieving mum has issued a warning to other parents about the dangers of letting your baby nap in their car seat after her 18-month-old daughter tragically died.
Lisa Smith from Aledo in Texas had left her daughter Mia in the care of a babysitter who had let her go to sleep in her car seat.
But while Lisa was at work, she received the tragic phone call to say that little Mia hadn’t woken up from her nap.
It was later revealed that Mia had died from “positional asphyxia”, meaning her breathing was restricted due to the position she had been sleeping in.
While Mia’s mum was aware of the risks associated with leaving a child to sleep in the car seat, her babysitter had been unaware, so Lisa has opened up to WFAA about the tragedy in a bid to raise awareness about the dangers.
“There’s nothing about the car seat that’s designed [for] sleep,” Sharon Evans, a trauma injury prevention coordinator at Cook Children’s Hospital, told WFAA.
“Of course, if the straps aren’t tight, the child can kind of slump down. Children [are then] at risk of being strangled or asphyxiated.”
It’s a warning Dr Tamara Bugembe, paediatrician, and founder of www.helperbees.co.uk is keen to echo.
“The general advice is not to keep babies in car seats for more than a continuous two hour stretch because it is not healthy for their spine,” she says.
“The seating position is not a natural position for babies less than 9 months of age, so seating them in car seat at a slightly wrong angle can affect the expansion of their lungs and how effectively they can breathe,” she adds.
Dr Bugembe has some advice for parents concerned about car seat safety.
“Make sure you can see your baby’s face, so any colour change that signifies a difficulty in breathing. This can happen in less than two hours, so make sure to check on your baby frequently and adjust
the angle according to the manufacturers recommendations,” she adds.
Lisa is keen to spread the word about the risks so that not only parents, but grandparents, babysitters and anyone looking after children are made aware of the dangers.
Aside from trying to spread the message online, she’s also warning parents she sees using a “car seat on the seats of restaurants or putting them on the floor at tables…I literally walk up to people and I say, ‘You know, I had a daughter…who passed away and I just want you to be really careful.’”
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