Most babies can ride safely in a semi-reclined, rear-facing car seat with low harness slots. However, some premature babies may show signs of trouble when sitting up. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends monitoring each baby born earlier than 37 weeks in a car seat before the baby goes home. The monitoring is called Angle Tolerance Testing. This is to check for signs of trouble, such as slow heartbeat, too little oxygen in the blood, or periods of not breathing. If your baby shows any of these signs, he or she may need to ride lying flat in a crash-tested car bed. Use the car bed until the doctor tells you your baby can sit up safely. Also avoid using a baby seat or swing at home during this time.
What happens during Angle Tolerance Testing?
The Angle Tolerance Testing is done within 7 days of infant going home. The infant is placed in the actual car seat that will be used after going home. They will be monitored for 90 minutes or the length of the ride home, whichever is longer, for changes in heart rate, oxygen level, and breathing.
Tips for car bed use:
- Place with baby's head toward the middle of the vehicle.
- Baby should lie on her back unless the doctor says to do otherwise
Using a Car Bed Correctly:
- Place the bed so the infant's head is near the center of the vehicle.
- Use the seat belt to secure the bed. Tighten the belt. Due to their length some car beds use two seating positions.
- Secure the baby on his back unless the prone position is medically necessary.
- Performing another angle tolerance test is suggested prior to the baby riding in a rear-facing car seat.