Three years after tragedy claimed the life of her 18-month-old daughter, a Texas mother is issuing a warning to other parents about the very real dangers of letting babies fall asleep in car seats. Doctors said that her daughter died of positional asphyxia which is when a person’s breathing is restricted by the position of their body.
“I got a call while I was at work,” the baby’s mom, Lisa Smith, told WFAA. “Worst call I’ve ever had in my life. ‘Drop everything. Mia didn’t wake up from her nap.’”
While it’s not well known among parents, it is extremely dangerous to let kids sleep in car seats. A study in the Journal of Pediatrics found that 31 children have died from sleeping in car seats over a four-year period. Often, the straps from the car seat suffocated the child, or they fell asleep causing their heads to slump forward and block their airway.
“There’s nothing about the car seat that’s designed to sleep,” explains Sharon Evans, a trauma injury prevention coordinator at Cook Children’s Hospital in Texas,
Smith knew the danger so she made sure to never let her daughter fall asleep in a car seat. However, it wasn’t something that her very qualified child care specialist, who was watching Smith’s daughter at the time of her death, was aware of, and that’s why Smith is speaking out.
“I walk around town and see people using a car seat on the seats at restaurants or putting them on the floor at tables,” she said. “I literally walk up to people and I say, ‘You know, I had a daughter who was seventeen-and-a-half months who passed away and I just want you to be really careful.’”