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Safe Transportation of Premature Babies

Safe Transportation of Premature Babies

Babies born prematurely often require an adjustment of safety seats in cars during the first few months of their lives.

Full term babies  transported in a car should be positioned at a semi-reclining 45degree angle in the safety seat, facing the back of the vehicle. This way, if a frontal crash should occur, the force of impact will be absorbed by the safety seat, leaving the infant almost entirely unharmed. However, this position can be hazardous for underweight babies or infants with low muscle tone.

Recommendations by the Mishcon Family Center for the Safe Transportation of Children and Beterem Organization: (See Beterem's description under Beterem)

Preparing the infant for their first ride in a car:

  • Shortly before being released from the hospital, medical staff must examine the infant’s ability to properly be driven in a semi-reclining position.
  • The examination is performed in the following manner: The infant is placed in the safety seat for an hour and a half (or more, depending on the estimated time of the drive home) while connected to a monitor.
  • Medical staff ensures that no respiratory arrest, cardiac dysrhythmia or low oxygen saturation occurs while the infant is in the safety seat.
  • Based on the test results, it will be determined whether or not the infant can be driven safely in the seat, in a semi-reclining position.
  • If the test results indicate there may be danger in driving the infant in a semi-reclining position, a doctor must check for alternatives, such as providing oxygen during the drive, driving the infant in a special recliner, or even providing further hospitalization.
  • A similar test should be performed on other high-risk groups: babies with low muscle tone (as a result of Down syndrome or neuromuscular conditions), for infants following cardiac surgery, and infants suffering from respiratory conditions.
  • Medical staff must instruct parents on how to safely transport a premature baby, including avoiding positioning the child in a semi-reclining position other than during transport.
  • If an infant needs to be transported with heavy medical equipment (monitor, oxygen, respiratory machine, etc.) all equipment should be properly placed and anchored to the car.
  • Equipment should be anchored with an available seatbelt or placed securely below the car seat.

 

Anchoring Equipment

 

Follow-up

An infant who must be driven while in a fully reclining position with added oxygen, can later progress to the normal position recommended for his or her age group if a second monitoring test determines that this is acceptable.