Safely transporting a preterm or low birth weight infant

Apr 27, 2009

New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics should eliminate one of the many stresses of bringing a preterm or low birth weight infant home from the hospital.

The new AAP clinical report, "Safe Transportation of Preterm and Low Birth Weight Infants at ," co-authored by Marilyn J. Bull, M.D., and William A. Engle, M.D., of Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children, provides guidelines for secure transport and also advises parents that car safety seats should only be used for travel.

Developed jointly by the AAP Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention and the AAP Committee on Fetus and Newborn, the report offers guidance about car safety seats to pediatricians and other caregivers who counsel parents of preterm and infants at hospital discharge. It appears in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics.

"These guidelines are an update of a policy first published in 1999 and report updates in research and new resources available for ensuring the safest transportation possible for our most vulnerable babies. Selection of the best seat for the infant, guidelines for positioning the baby and the assessment of the baby in the seat prior to discharge are emphasized," said Dr. Bull.

The weight, length, neurologic maturation and associated medical conditions of the newborn determine whether to bring the baby home in a car safety seat or a car bed. The AAP report recommends that preterm and low infants at risk for adverse cardio-respiratory events or episodes of stopped breathing be placed in a car safety seat and observed by a trained hospital staff for as long as the trip home or up to two hours, whichever is greater, before hospital discharge.

While rear-facing car safety seats are the transport method of choice for infants who can maintain cardio-respiratory stability when seated, car beds are appropriate for some infants with breathing difficulties, slow heart beats or blood levels low in oxygen when seated in a semi-reclining position, according to the AAP report.

"It is important to place car seats or car beds in the rear seat of the car to avoid the potential injury associated with air bags in small individuals. An adult sitting in the rear seat of the vehicle next to the child also provides an additional measure of safety," said Dr. Engle.

According to the guidelines, rolled blankets can be placed on both sides of a newborn to provide support of the head or body when riding in the car safety seat. A small rolled diaper or blanket may be added if necessary between the crotch strap and the baby to prevent the child from slipping down in the seat.

These new guidelines are important for infants that are small or born preterm but also can enhance the safety of transportation of all infants as they grow and mature, noted Dr. Bull and Dr. Engle.

Correctly used car safety seats are 71 percent effective in preventing fatalities to infants in a passenger car crash according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.

Source: Indiana University (news : web)

Explore further: Strategies can help docs lower their tax burden

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

SUVs no safer than passenger cars for children, new study

Jan 04, 2006

PartNew research from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia shows that children riding in SUVs have similar injury risks to children who ride in passenger cars. The study, published today in the journal Pediatrics, ...

Scientist Seeks to Improve Car Seat Safety for Children

Sep 28, 2006

Chris Sherwood studies what happens to children in car crashes. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, car crashes are the leading cause of death for children from 2 to 14 years old. In 2003, ...

Tata Motors unveils the $2,500 'People's Car'

Jan 10, 2008

At the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi today, Indian company Tata Motors has unveiled a tiny vehicle that is also affordable, safe, and fuel-efficient. While the official name for the vehicle is "the People's Car," ...

Recommended for you

The human race evolved to be fair for selfish reasons

Sep 19, 2014

"Make sure you play fairly," often say parents to their kids. In fact, children do not need encouragement to be fair, it is a unique feature of human social life, which emerges in childhood. When given the o ...

Non-stop PET/CT scan provides accurate images

Sep 18, 2014

Siemens is improving PET/CT imaging and data quality while reducing radiation exposure. The Biograph mCT Flow PET/CT scanner is a new positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) system that, ...

Experts: Chopin's heart shows signs of TB

Sep 17, 2014

The preserved heart of composer Frederic Chopin contains signs of tuberculosis and possibly some other lung disease, medical experts said Wednesday.

User comments : 0