New research has found that infants under the age of four weeks shouldn’t be strapped into a car seat for more than 30 minutes at a time.
Researchers found that if new-borns were in the seats for too long, it could significantly increase their breathing and heart rate while considerably lowering their blood oxygen levels.
The team from Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Swindon, the University of Southampton and University of Bristol used 40 babies for the research and noticed that their blood oxygen level dropped below 85 per cent saturation when sat at 40-degree angle for 30 minutes, well below the normal level in the high 90s.
The babies were sat at 30-degree before being moved to the 40-degree position – which is a legal requirement in the UK – and the researchers noted that while still or moving, the oxygen saturation dropped to a dangerous level.
To have a better range of subjects, the researchers used both preterm and full term babies, aged between one and 65 days’ old.
However, the findings released by the NHS stated that it was difficult to know the right sample size to observe harmful effects as no studies have been done in moving cars or simulators.
Dr Renu Arya, lead researcher and consultant paediatrician at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Parents should not stop using car safety seats to transport their infants.
Infants must be protected in moving vehicles, and UK law requires car seats be used whenever infants travel in cars.” The research also concluded by saying: “Taking regular breaks when driving long distances is also recommended.
As well as giving a baby a chance to move out of their car seat, it will also help keep the driver alert and reduce the risk of accidents.”