Alert to Parents: Don’t leave sleeping baby in car seat

Connecticut Families

The old adage says “don’t disturb a sleeping baby” but we have a reminder now to parents to never leave a napping infant in a car seat.  A mother shares her tragic story during Baby Safety Month.

“She loved to dance, would have a dance party everyday if she could,” says Lisa Smith, a Texas mother who interviewed with ABC affiliate, WFAA

Little Mia was almost 18-months-old.  Lisa tearfully shares the moment when everything changed:

“I got a call when I was at work.  The worst call I’ve ever gotten.  ‘Drop everything.  Mia didn’t wake up from her nap.'”

Lisa says – unbeknownst to her – Mia’s longtime babysitter who ran a licensed home daycare – put the toddler down to nap in a car seat.  The police report said she was left unattended in a dark room.  Mia’s cause of death was positional asphyxia. 

“Car seats are really wonderful in preventing injuries in the event of a motor vehicle crash,” explains Garry Lapidus of Hartford Hospital and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center’s Injury Prevention Center.  “That’s really great but it’s not the place for babies to sleep.”  He explains that young infants don’t have strong necks:  “So, if the head goes forward, it could block the airway and they could suffocate and choke.”

“In the car, there’s a base, and when the car seat is installed at base at a certain angle, when you take the carseat out and put it on the flat surface, that angle changes and the risk increases,” he continues.  “When you take the car seat into the house and the baby is sleeping, take the baby out of the car seat and into a safe sleeping environment…flat on their backs, in a crib, on a sheet with no blankets or plush toys.”

A Journal of Pediatrics study found 31 children died while sleeping in car seats over a four year period.

Lisa shares her story because she doesn’t want anyone else to feel the pain she felt, doesn’t want another child to die this way. 

“She was our first born, our only child and she didn’t deserve what happened to her,” she says through tears.  “But other families don’t serve this to happen to them, either.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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