When Sleeping in the Car Seat becomes Dangerous

Baby sleeping




Sleep is vital to a child’s development and growth. When life becomes busy, it can be challenging to find time to schedule your child’s naptime. Often, children may fall asleep in the car while being transported from one activity to another. 

It can be tempting as a caregiver to just place the car seat inside your home instead of taking the child out the car seat and risking waking them up during the process. While this may seem more convenient, it can be dangerous, and you could unintentionally be putting your baby at risk. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 62% of infant deaths that happen in a sitting device occur in car seat that has been moved into the home. When your baby is seated in a car seat, their heavy head can fall forward causing difficulty breathing and even suffocation. That is why car seats outside of moving cars are not safe for naps or overnight sleep for the first year of life. The same risk comes from upright strollers and baby swings. 

Car seats remain a vital safety feature when used in the car and can reduce the child’s risk of injury during a car crash.  It is important to continue to use the car seat when your vehicle is in motion but also remember to remove your child from the seat when leaving the car.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides safety tips on how to help your child sleep safely. The tips include: 

  • Placing the child on his or her back for all sleep times including naps and bedtime 
  • Using a safe surface such as a mattress in a crib 
  • Keep soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, toys, and additional padding out of the crib when the baby is sleeping 
  • Experts recommend that your child sleeps in the same room as you but not in the same bed. 

Again, we understand the importance of sleep and trying to ensure your child gets every minute of rest. But, we want to help you ensure your child is safe while sleeping. Below are some tips to help you remember to remove your sleeping child from the car seat once you arrive at home or your destination:

  • Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to remove your child from the car seat 
  • Place an index card or sticky note on your steering wheel with a message to remind you to remove the child from the seat when sleeping 
  • When possible schedule activities before or after your child’s naptime, to help reduce the chances on the child falling asleep in the car 
  • Remind other caregivers of the importance of not allowing the child to sleep in the car seat outside of the vehicle. 

Sources and More information