14
Oct

Positional Asphyxia | Death Asleep in a Car Seat

Could a Baby Die Asleep in a Car Seat on the Floor?

Positional Asphyxia: Death Asleep in a Car Seat

Positional Asphyxia: Death Asleep in a Car Seat

Tragedy struck a North Dakota family when one of their twins died at daycare in his sleep.  The daycare workers usually took the babies out of their car seats.  At drop off, Linnea was taken out of her car seat.  But her twin brother, Anders Jungling fell asleep.  Just a few hours later, his mom, Rachel, got the phone call.  He died quietly in his sleep ... in his car seat.  Rachel didn't understand why he was still in his car seat.  The daycare workers didn't know that a baby could die in a car seat placed on the floor. So, they let him sleep.

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Why Does Any Mother or Caretaker Leave a Baby Asleep in the Car Seat? 

 

The reasons are many ... 

"I'm just so tired." 

"He finally fell asleep."

"He has such bad colic & has been crying all day. He needs the sleep."

"I'll leave him there for just 30 minutes."

"If I take him out, it'll take forever to get him back to sleep."

"I've always heard to let sleeping babies lie."

And many, many more.

 

 

How Many of Us Have Left Our Baby Asleep in a Car Seat? 

 

I've been guilty of that.  I remember constantly checking, every 2-5 minutes if my sleeping son was okay in the car seat.  Then, it finally dawned on me that the little bit of sleep he would get in his car seat was causing me extreme stress and additional mental unrest.  Why was I doing that to myself?  He had horrible colic.  He was only getting a maximum of 3 hours daily.  In the end, I couldn't reconcile his much-needed sleep with my ever-increasing madness.  I'm sure my sleep deprivation made me think unclearly.  Mentally, I just couldn't take the risk anymore.  And so, I took him out of his car seat.  And he cried.  A lot.  I hated it.  Praying he would just fall back asleep each time, but he didn't.  So, many a night, I would drive with him until he slept in the car.  I can understand why anyone would leave a baby in a car seat.  However, we just can't because they could die of positional asphyxia.

 

 

 

What is Positional Asphyxia?

Positional asphyxia happens when an infant stops breathing when they are either placed or fall asleep in an unsafe sleeping environment or an unsafe position.

 

 

How Can Positional Asphyxia Occur in a Car Seat?

A baby can sleep safely in a car seat placed in a car because the car seat is placed at an angle.  when the car seat is at an angle, a baby's heavy head remains backward and their airways remain open.  On the floor, the baby's head tilts forward and closes their airway.   The baby will not fight the asphyxiation.  They will die quietly in their sleep.  

 

 

What are Some Unsafe Environments for Baby's Sleep?

Car Seat

Bed-sharing

Objects in the bed, such as blankets, pillows, stuffed animals

Sofas

Waterbed

Beanbag Chair

 

 

What are Some Unsafe Positions for Baby's Sleep?

Side sleeping

Sleeping facedown

Sleeping with the head covered (in a car seat)

Face against a soft surface (bed bumpers, parent's chest)

 

What are the ABCs of Safe Sleep?

Alone – Babies need to sleep alone in a crib without anything that could suffocate them (bed bumpers, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, pacifiers made with attached plushies).
Back – Babies need to sleep on their backs (no side sleeping or face down sleeping).
Crib – Babies need to sleep in a crib or a flat bassinet (not a car seat, swing, adult bed, etc).

 

Is This Rare?  Why Change if Nothing Bad Has Happened to Anyone I Know?

 

You may not hear or know someone whose baby died of positional asphyxia, but it's not worth taking the risk.  In my pediatric career, in over 20 years, I've had 3 children that I've cared for die from positional asphyxia.  If it happens to you or someone you know, it's life-changing.  You have to live with the pain and regret, forever wondering, if you had only changed, would life have been different?  It's just not worth it.  

 

3
Nov

Electronics and Sleep Problems

electronics-before-bed-sleep-problems-in-childrenChildren develop sleep problems when they use portable media devices, such as tablets or smartphones, before bed.  They have more difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, are more sleepy during the daytime, and are twice more likely to sleep less than children without access to their devices before bedtime.  A JAMA Pediatrics review (reut.rs/2fkjL1j) of 20 studies that involved children using these portable media devices. The review excluded their use of PCs and TVs before bed.  It included over 125,000 children between the ages of 6 and 19 years old.
 
 Even more interesting, is the fact that sleep problems are also more likely in children who had their portable media device near them at bedtime, even if they didn’t use it before bedtime.  If they receive texts or use social media, then they are more likely to check their devices throughout the night.  Before you know it, after checking the texts, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat & other social media, several hours of precious  sleep may have been lost.
 
So many of us are guilty of using out smartphones in the middle of the night.  We’ve commonly woken up, after a deep sleep REM cycle, checked our smartphone, and interrupted our sleep.  A good amount of sleep for most children is 10 hours per night, for teens it lowers to 9 hours per night.  For a child, this has a huge impact on their education the next day as well.  If sleep problems exist, learning difficulties are more likely to occur when they are sleepy during the daytime. 
 
Next time you use your smartphone before bed, think about how it could negatively impact your own sleep.  Poor sleep is linked to many potential negative health consequences, including dementia.
 
Please consider protecting your child’s sleep by making sure they don’t use their smartphones or tablets before bedtime, turn them off or remove them from their bedroom at night.
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