Carrying Premature and Low Birth Weight Babies
The safest way for babies to travel in a car is in an approved rearward-facing baby seat that is suitable for the car and is properly fitted, preferably in the rear of the car.
However, research in the USA indicates that premature and low-birth weight babies can be susceptible to breathing problems if they stay in a baby seat for long periods. They found that some new-born babies developed breathing problems after one hour in the baby seat and some premature babies stopped breathing for a short period.
If you have a premature or low-birth weight baby:
- ask the hospital to assess whether it is safe for the baby to travel in a baby seat before you are discharged (some hospitals routinely do this assessment).
- When the hospital says it is safe to take the baby home, make sure that you put the baby in an approved rearward-facing baby seat that is suitable for the car and is properly fitted.
- Do not keep the baby in the seat for longer than necessary.
- Recline the baby seat as much as possible when in the car (making sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions for fitting and using it).
- Never leave the child unattended in the seat. Try to have someone else do the driving, so you can sit next to the baby to keep an eye on him or her.
- Keep car travel to a minimum in the first few months.
- Only use the baby seat in the vehicle and not on an integrated travel system or for feeding or sleeping etc.
- If in any doubt, consult the hospital or your GP.