When 28-year-old Kirsti Clark strapped her three-week-old daughter into her car seat, she wasn’t expecting to put her child’s life in danger. But the mum soon learned about car seat dangers in the most frightening way possible.
Mum shares warning about car seat dangers after newborn daughter almost dies
The frightening incident happened on their drive home, which took longer than normal because of bad traffic.
Once they got home, the mum-of-two recounts how she and her husband Christopher got their eldest daughter Malena into bed first. Their baby Harper stayed in the car seat, until they took her out of it because she was getting fussy.
To their horror, Harper, who by then had spent three hours in the car seat, turned blue and started foaming at the nose and mouth; she also suffered a seizure.
The terrified parents rushed their little one to the hospital, where doctors managed to resuscitate her.
“Seeing her like that was the worst feeling. It was horrid. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone…”
While there, they were also warned about the dangers of leaving babies in car seats for more than an hour. Because beyond 60 minutes, a baby’s oxygen level can crash.
“Seeing her like that was the worst feeling. It was horrid. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone,” Clark tells news.com.au.
Because of what happened, the mum and dad are now committed to letting other parents know about one of the most overlooked car seat dangers.
“We knew we had to share what happened to Harper because parents need to know. Just two hours in a car seat and we could have lost her, it’s terrifying,” says Clark.
Car seat dangers parents should know about
Car seat dangers can happen even in the “safest car seats.”
As this story shows, oxygen deprivation can happen even in the safest of car seats. A study has also stressed the dangers of putting babies in car seats for too long.
Another study also compared how 200 newborns’ breathing patterns changed when placed in a car seat, car bed, or crib.
The researchers of both studies, along with other similar ones, agreed that babies’ oxygen levels fall and their breathing and heart rates can go alarmingly up.
What’s more, sitting upright for prolonged periods can cause chest wall compression. This, in turn, can affect the size of their still-developing airway.
Here’s what to remember to protect your child from car seat dangers.
1. Watch your baby
Even if you’ve been keeping them in a car seat without incident, don’t be too complacent. Always be extra observant and vigilant about their safety.
Look at them through the rear view mirror, or better yet, have someone sit beside them, as rear-facing car seats are still recommended for babies under the age of two years old. In fact, SafetyBeltSafe USA says this is five times safer in the event of an accident.
2. Know your baby’s cues
Are they extra fussy or kicking around? You know your baby best, so you know when something’s wrong. Trust your instincts; don’t overlook any strange sounds or movements. Or silence.
Just like the case of the Clarks, they noticed something was wrong when their baby was more restless than usual. Take them out of the car seat immediately or seek medical help as needed.
3. Invest in protective accessories
Getting breathing or movement monitors can help give you peace of mind. You can even download baby monitoring apps that can help you keep an eye on your baby.
Though driving long distances with babies isn’t always dangerous, it’s best to avoid bringing young babies on long car rides too often, especially if they were born prematurely.
Of course, car seats are important. Just recently, a baby was flung from her dad’s arms and died because she wasn’t in a car seat. But with the time and effort spent trying to find the best car seat, there should also be a commitment to making it safer for kids.
Though parents can purchase car seats and other safety equipment, nothing beats the watchful eye of a loving parent for a worry-free journey ahead.
Sources: news.com.au, Insider, WebMD, American Academy of Pediatrics