Taking your baby on car journeys is unavoidable and if she falls asleep then there’s not a lot you can do – especially if you’re driving. So how can you make sure she’s safe?
A lot of mums worry that letting their baby sleep in the car isn’t safe, so don’t think that you’re the only one. There’s loads of debate about whether the upright position your baby’s car seat can harm her spine – as we all know that it’s best if your little one sleeps flat on her back.
There’s no getting around the fact that you the car to use your car (and obviously your baby can’t be left home alone) and the lulling motion of the car is bound to send your baby off into sleepy land.
But as long as she’s healthy and you follow the advice below, there’s no reason why snoozing in the car is unsafe.
Limit the time your baby’s in her car seat
Where possible, try to avoid taking your baby on long car journeys. Being in a semi-upright position for a considerable length of time may place a strain on her still-developing spine – use it as an excuse to get all of your relatives to visit you.
‘Car seats are designed for travel and you should follow the manufacturer’s guidance on correct positioning,’ Jenny says. ‘Babies should not be left to sleep in them for prolonged periods of time. Some manufacturers recommend a two-hour maximum.’
You should never leave your baby asleep in the car because you’re too scared to wake her.
Only use the car seat in the car
If your baby does drift off while you’re on your way home from the supermarket, take her inside before you return for the groceries
‘As soon as you have arrived at your destination it is important for your baby to be transferred to her cot or Moses basket,’ says The Lullaby Trust’s head of advice Jenny Ward. ‘Research shows that babies are safest when placed on their backs to sleep on a firm flat surface.’
You should never leave your baby asleep in the car because you’re too scared to wake her
Make sure you can see your baby
If you’re alone in the car with your baby, fix an unbreakable mirror opposite your baby, so you can see her at all times. If you notice you’re baby fall asleep, you can safely keep an eye on her and the position she’s in.
Use a safe baby car seat
The car seat you choose will make a difference to the comfort and positioning of your baby. It’s always better to spend a little more and ensure your baby is sat safely – have a look at the car seats that we have tried and tested.
Keep an eye on the temperature
Make sure your baby doesn’t get too hot in her car seat as she may overheat, which is one of the possible causes of SIDS. If you feel hot, then your baby probably feels hot, too. Pull over the car and check how hot she feels.
‘Look for sweating or feel her tummy or the back of her neck to see if she’s hot. Your baby’s hands and feet will usually be cooler, which is normal,’ Jenny explains. If your baby is hot, remove one or more layers or open the window very slightly to let some fresh air in.