Infant car seats save hundreds of babies’ lives each year–when the seats remain properly installed in a vehicle. Using car seats to carry infants or hold them while doing chores or taking care of other children, however, injures or kills thousands of babies.
This scope of the problem with misusing infant car safety seats became clear this weekend when Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center orthopedic surgeon and researcher Dr. Shital Parikh told American Academy of Pediatrics meeting attendees that between 2003 and 2007, 43,000 U.S. children had choked, suffocated or fallen and been seriously injured when their parent or caregiver left them in car seats and placed the seats on tables, countertops, beds or other elevated surfaces.
Most of the injuries Parikh documented were head and brain traumas. He also identified broken bones in data collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Parikh explained, “When parents or caregivers place the infant car seat on top of a table or elevated surface, the infant can wiggle and end up toppling off out of the seat onto the floor, which can lead to severe injuries.” He also added that “another accident that can happen is the turning over of the car seat on to a soft surface, which can lead to suffocation.”
A report in Tuesday’s Daily Press brings the tragic consequences of misusing infant car seats home. A former Newport News day care center operator will face manslaughter charges stemming from the choking death of 5-month-old baby in her charge on Feb. 4, 2009. The woman left the infant in a car seat an unattended for 10 minutes. At some point, the baby apparently squirmed around and got a strap from the seat wrapped around its neck.
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