Are you using your baby car seat properly?

May 5, 2010 8:48:16 PM PDT
Car seats are designed to protect your little one while he or she is in the car. Many parents also use car seats outside of the car, and where they place those seats is critical.

"I put it on the floor, not high. 'Why not?' I'm nervous, paranoid, that he could fall," said Andrea Gundersen, a mother.

"On the floor, cause I'm a nervous Nellie. That's my personality. I couldn't put it up on anything elevated, no," said Alison Cymbor, a mother.

Many other parents are not as cautious.

According to Consumer Reports Magazine, between 2003 and 2007, more than 43,000 infants were rushed to the emergency room after falling in car seats placed on tables, counters and desk tops.

"Also, you have to be careful about soft surfaces such as bedding and couches. Because if the baby flips over into those kinds of surfaces and lands face down they can smother, suffocate," warned Don Mays, the Consumer Reports Senior Director of Product Safety.

Parents should also remember it's not a good idea to leave your baby in the car seat for an extended period of time.

Too often the baby falls asleep during a car ride or stroll along the street and then, to not wake the baby, mom or dad leaves the child in the car seat when they get home.

"You know what, if he is sleeping, I will leave him in there for up to probably, like up to an hour, until he wakes up," said Jaime Park, a mother.

"The danger is there could be damage to the baby's muscle. They could get a little bit of a flat head syndrome. They might not develop as quickly or as properly as they otherwise would," said Christina Vercelletto of Parenting Magazine.

Also, not all car seats are made for shopping carts, and certainly not all shopping carts are made for car seats.