Newborns and premature babies in the car: tips for a safe journey

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Philippe Gloaguen
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What a thrill, the baby's first car trip from the hospital to home! For everything to go well, however, some precautions must be followed, because for a newborn - especially if premature and therefore very small - the car is certainly not the best place to stay.

Although the baby eggs available today are designed to ensure maximum safety and maximum comfort even for very small children, the position of babies while traveling is not optimal and could involve some risks.





After 30 minutes of travel there may be problems with oxygenation


The latest confirmation comes from a small recently published study by the team of pediatrician Peter Fleming, of the University of Bristol. Through simulations conducted in the laboratory, Fleming and colleagues took into consideration what happens to very young infants, mostly born before term - aged 13 days to two months and average weight of 2,5 kg - while traveling in car. Result: After approximately 30 minutes of simulated travel at a medium-low speed, many children show signs of oxygen deficiency.



The head dangles and the baby breathes badly


"In children so young, the neck muscles are not yet well developed and they cannot keep their heads erect, which dangle. Consequently, the airways are not free and the baby struggles to breathe, which in fact causes oxygenation problems "explains Alberto Villani, head of the Department of General Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases of the Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital in the city." why car trips with infants would go limit yourself as much as possible. Or, if really necessary, organized to move in small stages at a time ".



How to travel safely


But if the trip is necessary, some tricks can make it more comfortable and safe for the baby. Here are the advice of Luigi Di Matteo, engineer of the ACI technical area.

1. Children must travel in devices suitable for their age and size: for newborns, the appropriate device is the egg. "If you need to buy a new one, I recommend a product that follows the new one standard I-Size, which provides for the choice of the device no longer based on the weight of the child, but based on his height "explains Di Matteo." These products, in fact, guarantee a better impact resistance for head and neck".

The legislation does not replace the previous one, so those who already have an egg can still continue to use it, following the specific indications.

With regard to spacecraft, if on the one hand they may seem more comfortable, because the child travels lying down and there is no risk that the head will dangle forward (as long as it is obviously placed on his stomach), on the other the ACI does not recommend them. "The risk of overturning in the event of a collision cannot be ruled out," explains the engineer.

2. Position the car seat in the opposite direction to the direction of travel, because in the event of a collision this allows to limit the forward movement of the head. "The best position is that in the back seat, behind the driver, but the central position is fine too "says Di Matteo." In any case, if possible it is better to avoid putting the egg on the seat in front, next to the driver. It is true that in this way mothers especially tend to feel safer, because they see the baby well. But it is also the least safe position in the event of a frontal collision ".

If you really want to put the baby in front, always in the seat mounted in the rear facing direction, you must remember deactivate the airbag. Otherwise, in the event of a collision the little one will be crushed by the airbag itself.

3. If possible, drive accompanied, so that the child, sitting in the back, has someone beside him who can keep an eye on him.

4. Dress the baby appropriately, because if he is too much or too little dressed, the belts can work badly.

5. Avoid placing objects on the parcel shelf rear of the car, because in the event of a collision they become real bullets that hit the child.

6. Avoid distractions while driving, such as using a cell phone.

7. Stop frequently and do not face too long journeys, if not necessary, with very young children.

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