Eastbourne MP raises concerns over newborns in car seats

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell speaking in Parliament

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell speaking in Parliament

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Caroline Ansell has urged the Department of Health to further investigate a study indicating newborn babies should not be in a car seat for more than 30 minutes.

The Eastbourne MP told Parliament on Tuesday (November 15) that the study by paediatrician Professor Peter Fleming had discovered putting babies in an upright position might cause breathing difficulties.

The recommendation from the study was that newborns should not be taken on long journeys of more than half-an-hour.

Campaigners fighting to bring back maternity services from Hastings to Eastbourne say journeys for babies from the hospital take more than 30 minutes, and this is of great concern to parents.

“A small-scale study by Professor Peter Fleming has recently made the press,” Mrs Ansell told MPs.

“It links cardiorespiratory compromise in newborns with sleeping in car seats for prolonged periods — over 30 minutes.

“Given that for many Eastbourne babies one of their first life experiences is the journey home from Hastings hospital, which is longer than 30 minutes, will the department look at these findings, consider whether further study is required and offer reassurance to parents rightly concerned by the research?”

Health Minister David Mowatt told Mrs Ansell the department would look at the study and report back to Parliament.

The pilot study, funded by the charity the Lullaby Trust, discovered a ‘worrying’ increase in heart and breathing rates in young babies under eight weeks old strapped into rear-facing car seats.

The 40 youngsters were placed in a motion simulator designed to replicate the effects of placing a newborn baby in a car seat as if they are just leaving hospital for the first time.

Each was placed at a 40-degree angle and ‘travelled’ at 30mph along a straight road with no bumps for half-an-hour.

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