Monday, December 27, 2010

Carseat fiasco!

I've been meaning to post this rant but *gasp* have not had time to sit and properly write it out! I just feel like possibly it could save a life... A little one's life.

Way back when we first found out we were pregnant, I spent hours upon hours upon hours researching which car seat, stroller, wrap, crib, travel bed, etc. to get for our baby to come. I ended up deciding on the Chicco Keyfit 30 after hearing rave reviews from friends and reading all the wonderful safety features it has.

Little Miss was brought home from the hospital in this car seat. We began noticing a pattern though with each outing, the screams. We dreaded taking her anywhere as should would scream, not just a fussy get-me-out-of-here-scream but a blood curtailing scream of life or death scream. We hardly ever took the infant carrier out of the car, instead just took her out of the carrier and either carried her or put her in the Moby wrap to prevent the screams.

It was thanks to the Moby Wrap that I started connecting the dots... The instruction manual for the Moby has a warning section on ways to make sure your little one is safe while being carried in the wrap. One is that baby's chin does not rest on its chest for fear of cutting off airway and suffocating. I began noticing that no matter how we positioned Little Miss in the car seat or changed the base itself, her chin was always resting on her chest.

And then I watched her during a car ride while sitting next to her in the back seat... The first few minutes in the car seat were fine. She would fuss, give up and start drifting off to sleep. This is when it would start. She would awaken from sleep gasping for air in such a startled shock that it would be the heart wrenching screams that would follow. She would scream so much that it would wear her out and she would drift off to sleep again and thus the patter would continue. When I put two and two together we immediately ordered another car seat.

Instead of going with another infant carrier with all the same incline angles, we ordered a convertible that would allow us to manually adjust the incline for her needs. I took the new car seat to the Fire Station for them to install and inspect and was actually told to have Charles recheck it as he did such a fantastic job installing the infant carrier. She is riding pretty now in the Sunshine Kids Radian 80 in Primrose print.

It was such a night and day difference! Now, she'll fuss occasionally but most of the time rides beautifully either asleep or just looking around at what's going on. I still freak out as she's so quiet now in the car that I wonder if she's still breathing! I think it's scarred me for life! It is such night and day difference with her that my heart aches knowing that she suffered in what was supposed to be the safest place for her for 8 weeks! I am just so thankful that she is healthy and alert enough of a baby to indeed scream when she lost air supply. I do not want to even think about what would have happened had she not been healthy enough to cry so she would get oxygen!

So my caution to parents- Instead of believing that you just happen to have a child that hates the car seat and screams every time you go anywhere, make sure they are positioned properly and if not, get a new car seat! It was worth the extra money knowing she's now really truly safe in the car! Yes, some kids do just hate the car seat and that's okay once you have ruled out they are actually breathing properly in it. :-)


Libby said...

Amazing! way to go Observant Mama! What did you do about the old seat -- did you write to Chicco about it? you should at least leave a negative review on the website where you ordered it...this could help SO many!

addie said...

wow. amazing story.

hopefully by sharing you will help to keep others safe.

T said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I will definitely not be going with the Chicco! If you have other tips or equipment reviews I would be thrilled to hear them!!!!

Mindy Glenn, RN, CLC, CPST, Louisiana said...

Thanks for posting this. I am a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. If you brought the initial Chicco KeyFit to the fire station for the installation, my concern is that perhaps the person there that installed it was not a Nationally Certified Technician. Unfortunately, we have A LOT of well meaning people out there installing seats because they think it's a no-brainer & because since they had kids they "know" how to properly install them. Yes, the Chicco as well as many other car seats (infant only and convertible)have bases that adjust the recline. Just because the car seat has a recline mechanism does not mean that the seat is properly reclines. Many vehicles now have contoured seats to allow for the comfort for the adult passenger but are at times a NIGHTMARE for technicians attempting to properly install the seat. The proper recline angle for any rear-facing seat is 45 degrees. Many car seats with different seating designs require either using the recline mechanism or using a rolled towel & cut pool noodle to achieve the proper recline. A car seat improperly installed with an improper recline will cause the infant's head to slump forward & occlude the airway, which sounds like what was happening with your baby. That is why I question if the firefighter was an experienced certified technician. I am sure he was a wonderful good samaritan though. Anyone else that reads this post should be advised that they can a free fitting station with Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians by going to the website: Enter your zip code & it will tell you the closest fitting stations in your area.

Kelsey said...

My daughter was born 15 weeks premature and when we neared the end of her hospital say we were prepped on car seat safety and this 'chin to chest' was the major concern. They recommended not having a baby with no head control in the car seat for more than 30 minutes at a time and to use a bassinet or stroller rather than a car seat in a stroller if at all possible. We, being the cautious parents of a child who had just fought for her life for 20 weeks in hospital, too it to heart and never had her in her car seat for more than 30 minutes. One of the other parents we met in the NICU (who's kiddo was born 6 weeks early) did not take the recommendation to heart and unfortunately her kiddo suffocated on a trip to see grandma, alone and helpless in the back seat. I wish more people were told about this, especially first time parents!

Melanie said...

I would agree with some of the other commenters here, that it was likely the angle the seat was installed at, rather than the Chicco car seat itself. I have 7 week old twins and thus two identical Chicco Keyfit 30 car seats. We love them and have never had a problem, despite the boys being small at birth (6lbs and 6lbs 6oz)

naomigrace said...

Additionally, for peace of mind, y'all may want to use a baby mirror in the car. I get so nervous when my LO is quiet back there and I never know if she's fallen asleep, up to something, or (God forbid) something worse. You can just peak in your rearview mirror and see how they're positioned, etc.