Officials warn of dangers from leaving babies sleeping in car seats

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics found a large number of infant sleep deaths were due to improper use of car seats. One Sioux City daycare provider shared that many parents have come in to drop off their kids and asked that the daycare leave them in their car seat to sleep. It’s a habit many childcare and healthcare providers are now trying to break. 

“Mothers just want our babies to have a good night sleep and so you just think if they’re sleeping, just let them be there but now it’s nice to know the dangers of this,” said mother Burandy Kunze.

Burandy Kunze is one of many parents who is hesitant to wake their sleeping baby. 

“You don’t want to wake a sleeping baby, right? So if you’re baby is sleeping from the car and they’re still in their car seat, we think car seats must be safe because they are traveling in them, and by in large, that is true. However, leaving them in there long periods of time sometimes, you can be unaware of some of those dangers,” said Steven Joyce with MercyOne Medicine and Pediatric Care.

State guidelines require daycare providers to ensure babies are not left in their car seats after arrival.

“Some parents come in and say, ‘Oh it’s okay, they can just sleep in their car seat.’ They’ve slept in it all night long. We don’t encourage that at all and these are the reasons why,” said Director of Apple Tree Laurie Roethler.

Daycare providers and healthcare providers like MercyOne Pediatrician Steven Joyce are working to educate parents about those risks. 

“When infants are left in the car seats, their neck can be down pretty far like that, and it can cause obstruction of airways and we suspect that is how most of the infants are having demise more so than anything else,” said Joyce.

Dr. Joyce said leaving children in a car seat at home could also lead to them falling on a hard surface or flipping onto a soft surface.

“Once you are done using the car seat for travel and such things like that, it is best to take your infant out of the car seat [and] lay them on in a bassinet or crib sort of things more so than leaving them in their car seat,” said Joyce.

Doctor Joyce wants parents to remember safe sleep recommendations such as always having them sleeping on their backs, free of any obstructions like stuffed animals, large blankets or baby bumpers. 

Click here to view the full study.

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