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Lie Flat Car Seats

Lie flat car seats are designed to allow your baby to lie totally flat whilst travelling in the car. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion surrounding whether they are 'dangerous', or in fact, 'safer' than a traditional, rear facing 'wedge-shaped' infant carrier. In reality there are significant pros and cons to each mode of transport, but recent research is suggesting that restraining babies in a semi-upright position is exposing them to some not inconsiderable health risks.

Recognition of problems such as oxygen desaturation have led to the development of a new generation of lie flat car seats which are enabling new parents to make informed choices about which car seat is right for their baby.

What is Oxygen Desaturation?

Oxygen desaturation is when the oxygen levels in the blood fall, possibly to the extent that not enough oxygen reaches the vital organs, in particular the brain. There have been many reports into the effects of oxygen desaturation - some experts believe that it can have an effect on babies learning and physical development in later life, whilst others believe it can cause bradycardia (slowing of the heart) and apnoea (temporary suspension of breathing), both of which are linked with cot death. The 'wedge shape' of most infant carriers is considered the main cause of this problem. Because babies 'tummy breathe', rather than shallow breathe like adults, squashing them into an unnatural position restricts their breathing and possibly also their digestion.

What are car seat manufacturers doing about this issue?

As more research is carried out into the effects of rear facing infant carriers, and the clear health benefits of lying flat, some car seat manufacturers are providing a helping hand to parents by introducing lie flat and reclining car seats. These allow babies to travel in a more natural position and therefore breathe more easily. The Britax baby safe Sleeper Group 0 car seat continuesBritax Baby Safe Sleeper Group 0 Car Seat to be a popular choice because it lies flat for newborns, and can be used as rear facing as your baby grows. It can also be used on Jane pushchairs as a lie flat carrycot. The introduction of the Aprica Euroturn has set a new benchmark in terms of a lie flat car seat that has an extended lifespan. Designed with a 360 degree swivel pivot on the base and three recline positions, your baby can lie flat when they are newborn, but use the seat rearward facing and then forward facing up until they are 18kg (approximately 4 years old).

Should I be concerned?

Not necessarily! Whilst lie flat car seats are a nice safe comfy place to be they are far trickier to install and quite cumbersome. The biggest factor in child safety is still the incorrect fitting of car seats. The new research is not about scaring parents into purchasing the latest and greatest lie flat option, but making them aware of the potential risks involved in using conventional car seats - particularly with newborns (and especially low birth weight and premature babies). Babies have been transported in infant carriers for years without any problems, and there are numerous benefits with using them such as easy transportation, portability, size, convenience and price factor. But, it is important to remember that they are primarily a car seat, and therefore not the comfiest place for a baby. A spokesperson for The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) cautions parents, " they should remember that a car seat is intended as a travel device, not a sleeping device, and babies should never be left to sleep in a car seat at home." So, if you are using, or plan to use, an infant carrier, use them for travel purposes only and ensure your baby is able to lie flat whenever possible at other times.

Many health professionals now recommend that babies should never be left in a car seat for more than two hours, and ideally less than one hour. Additionally the recommendation is that babies, especially newborns, should not use a car seat for more than two hours in any one day. Some car seats, such as the Jane Strata Group 0+ car seat have a sliding function on the head support that allJane Strata car seat Group 0+ows your baby to lie virtually flat - these are worth looking out for as there is significant evidence to show that a baby breathes better if the infant carrier they are in has a deep lie back angle.

Click here to find lie flat car seats in the shop

Back to car seats: the definitive guide homepage

Buying Your Car Seat

Fitting Your Car Seat

This section includes information on the different types of car seat, explaining which seat is the right size for your child, what to look for, useful accessories and important things to remember before you buy. The car seat safety guide, sections on child car seats and the law, and car seats on test, provide the vital safety information that you need when buying your car seat. This section also includes information on fitting your seat, with a step-by-step guide to installing your car seat, a list of common problems and information on where to get help.

With most car seats in the UK being fitted incorrectly, it is crucial that you have access to the right information when selecting and fitting your child's seat. Our trained staff are all experienced car seat fitters and we have used their collective knowledge to put together this information. The golden rule is that it is absolutely essential that you get the fit checked if you are in any doubt at all. Some manufacturers have car compatibility fitting guides on their websites, however it should be remembered that these are just guides and are not definitive lists. Not all car seats will fit all cars, and no car or car seat manufacturer can guarantee a secure and safe fit. All cars are different, even two of the same make and model can have different length seat belts!

It is therefore essential to ensure your car seat is fitted correctly, in order to secure your child's safety whilst travelling in the car. The showroom is based just outside of Wallingford and we are always happy to check the fitting of your car seat.

Three important points to remember about car seats are:

  • Always buy a car seat to suit your child's weight rather than height.
  • Not all car seats fit all cars; check the model you have chosen will fit your car. Seek professional advice if you are unsure.
  • Always buy a car seat because it has safety features that improve fit and protection, not because it has attractive fabric choices or good value accessories.

Useful Links

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