Many parents take advantage of the convenience of today's car seats, using them as handheld baby carriers and snap-in seats for strollers. According to experts, however, this is not always safe for your infant.
Almost 9,000 infants end up in the emergency room each year because their car seats are used improperly outside the car. A recent study found that most injuries occurred when the car seat fell off of a table, countertop, or other high surface. Other injuries occurred when infants, not securely buckled, fell out of the seat, and when the seat flipped over on soft or unstable surfaces causing the infant to suffocate.
Some pediatric orthopedists believe that hospitals, medical societies, and manufacturers should warn parents about the dangers of misusing car seats. Experts suggest that if you are using a car seat outside of the car, it should be placed on a stable surface, where there is no danger of falling over. Car seats perform much better inside cars, reducing the odds of a baby dying in a crash by 75 percent.