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Early years

27th Aug 2018

Mum warns parents about the dangers of letting children sleep in car seats

Anna Daly

car seats

Car seats are not designed to be slept in.

Grieving Texan mother, Lisa Smith, is warning other parents not to let their child fall asleep in car seats. At least not for long periods of time.

Lisa’s 18-month-old daughter, Mia, died after falling asleep in a car seat. Lisa herself had been aware of the risks of car seats but her child’s daycare minder had not.

The minder put Mia in a carseat at the daycare and let her fall asleep. Lisa got a phone call at work to tell her that Mia had never woken up from that sleep.

It was concluded that Mia had died from “positional asphyxia”, which meant that she stopped breathing because of the position she was in. Her airways had been blocked.

This is a real danger for babies sleeping in car seats. If seatbelts are not properly secured, a baby can slide down under the belt and block their airway.

Now Lisa is on a mission to raise awareness about the dangers of carseats so that someone else won’t have to go through the same tragedy. She talked to WFAA about losing her daughter and about the steps she’s taking to help other parents and children.

“I got a call while I was at work. Worst call I’ve ever had in my life. ‘Drop everything. Mia didn’t wake up from her nap.'”

In restaurants Lisa often sees parents leave their baby in car seats on the ground.

“I literally walk up to people and I say, ‘You know, I had a daughter… who passed away and I just want you to be really careful.'”

Lisa told CafeMom that many parents aren’t aware of the dangers of letting their children sleep in car seats and are shocked when they hear about what happened to Mia.

If not in a car, babies should never be left to sleep in a car seat. Naps should always be in a crib or another similar suitable location.

Mia’s parents were aware of the dangers and that still didn’t save their daughter. Lisa says that everyone needs to be educated and that includes daycare providers.

“We were not given a choice about Mia’s car seat sleeping and it devastates us to know that it was so easily prevented. She was feet away from the safety of a crib.”