Strapping newborns into car seats for more than half an hour at a time may not be a good idea. University of Minnesota researchers recently studied 100 newborns, half of whom were premature, and found that sitting upright in a car seat can cause breathing difficulties.
That's because the reflexes that keep the head upright and breathing normally aren't developed enough in infants, say experts. Using car seats as carriers for newborns was dicey, too. What's more, car seats didn't always provide adequate protection for some infants. Even when they were snugly wrapped in blankets, roughly one out of four premature babies didn't fit securely in the car seat. Four percent of full-term babies were too small for car seats. Because parents can't assume their baby is safe in a car seat, travel with newborns should be kept to the shortest time possible during the first few months of life, the experts said.