the 2 hour rule
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE 2 HOUR RULE IS?
In a recent survey, 58% of parents had not heard of the 2 Hour Rule.
With the serious health implications of not following the 2 Hour Rule, it seems that there is a dangerous lack of information available to parents.
Parents Had Not Heard of the 2 Hour Rule
Maximum Number of Hours Your Baby Should be in a Car Seat
SO WHAT IS THE 2 HOUR RULE?
Many car seat manufacturers recommend that a baby should not be in a car seat for longer than 2 hours, within a 24 hour time period.
This is because when a baby is in a semi-upright position for a prolonged period of time it can result in:
1. A strain on the baby’s still-developing spine.
2. Restricted air-flow to the baby’s lungs. The chance of this can increase if a baby falls asleep with their head flopped forward.
WHY SHOULD YOU FOLLOW THE 2 HOUR RULE?
Due to the lack of information available for parents about the safety of babies in car seats, Michelle Clark, Neonatal Unit Sister at DRI, decided to find out more about the subject to help raise parents’ awareness of the risk of car seat cot death.
Outlined below are some of Michelle’s findings.
Young babies may experience respiratory (breathing) problems if placed in a sitting position or car seat. A newborn baby’s reflex to keep its head held up is not fully developed, meaning the head flops down and restricts the airway.
It is always best to keep a young baby on their back wherever possible.
Car seats should only be used to transport babies in cars, and other sitting baby equipment should only be used once the baby is strong enough to support their own head.
More about Michelle Clark…
Michelle’s interest was prompted by the lack of information available to parents about babies in car seats. Health professionals also knew very little of the research conducted and subsequently the potential dangers of prolonged and bad positioning of vulnerable babies in car seats.
Michelle has spent two years researching this subject, studying the findings from various sources, including New Zealand researchers, and the Foundation for Sudden Infant Death (FSID).
The importance of Michelle’s work…
“Michelle’s work is being published nationally, demonstrating the importance attached to her work. I encourage every parent who uses a car seat for their baby to use this information to keep their baby safe. It is important to inform parents, other family members, and the general public when new knowledge is available. Everyone who cares for a baby should be fully aware of the potential risk of car seat cot death and how to minimise it.”
Hilary Bond, Director of Nursing & Quality
CAR SEATS SHOULD ONLY BE USED
TO TRANSPORT BABIES IN CARS
Car seats are designed to keep babies safe while travelling, not as a main sleeping place.
The research recommends that frequent breaks are taken on long journeys to get the baby out of the seat, even if this involves waking the baby up. The same applies when bringing the baby into the home if they have fallen asleep in the car seat. The baby’s warm outdoor clothing should be taken off, even if this involves waking the baby.
If the baby is due a sleep, they should be taken out of the car seat and put into a cot or crib; the safest place for a baby to sleep is on a firm, flat mattress – a car seat does not meet this requirement.
Worryingly, it has been found that some babies were spending hour after hour in car seats, ie during the journey, transferring the car seat in a travel system pram, and once home allowing the baby to continue sleeping in the car seat rather than waking the baby up and placing in them in a cot or crib.
All the advice suggests that babies should not spend longer than possible in a car seat, especially whilst sleeping.
USEFUL TIPS TO HELP AVOID CAR SEAT COT DEATH
BY MICHELLE CLARK
The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a cot or crib on their back and in the same room as a parent or carer.
Car seats should only be used to transport babies in cars.
Make sure the car seat you buy is age appropriate and correctly fitted, to ensure your baby remains secure.
Where possible, babies travelling in a car seat should be observable by a responsible adult.
Babies find it difficult to regulate their temperature and quickly overheat. When in the car, remove any headgear the baby is wearing as they lose excess heat through their head.
Stop your baby from scrunching up and over, keep an eye on their neckline.
You should never use a car seat in the house for your baby to sleep in.
Make sure grandparents and carers know how to fit the car seat and watch them practice.
If you are a lone driver driving a significant distance use services to check on your baby.
Be wary of thick snowsuits. It may be cold outside, but cars can heat up quickly. Natural materials will help the baby’s body with heat rather than nylon, polyester, and other man-made fabrics.