What is a car seat test?
A car seat test, also known as a car seat tolerance screening (CSTS), is a test done on babies before they are discharged from the hospital to make sure they can safely travel in a car seat. The test involves placing the baby in a car seat and monitoring their heart rate, breathing, and oxygen level for 90-120 minutes.
The car seat test is recommended for all babies born before 37 weeks’ gestation or who weigh less than 5 pounds 8 ounces. These babies are at increased risk for breathing problems and other complications, and the car seat test can help to identify any potential problems before the baby is discharged home.
Other babies who may need a car seat test include:
- Babies with certain medical conditions, such as chronic lung disease or heart disease
- Babies who have had breathing problems after birth
- Babies who have been on oxygen therapy
- Babies who have been in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
If a baby falls the car seat test, they may need to stay in the hospital for longer monitoring or may need to use a different type of car seat.
The car seat test is an important safety measure that can help to ensure that babies travel safely in cars.
If a baby fails the car seat test twice, parents have a few options:
- Continue monitoring the baby in the hospital. This is usually the best option for babies who are at high risk for breathing problems or other complications. The baby’s vital signs will be monitored closely while they are in the hospital, and they will be discharged once they are able to pass the car seat test.
- Use a different type of car seat. Some babies may be able to safely travel in a different type of car seat, such as a rear-facing convertible car seat or a harness booster seat. A certified child passenger safety technician (CPST) can help parents choose the right type of car seat for their baby and show them how to install and use it correctly.
- Use a medical transportation service. If a baby is unable to safely travel in a car seat, parents may need to use a medical transportation service to take their baby home from the hospital. These services use specially equipped vehicles and trained personnel to transport babies who have special needs.
Parents should talk to their doctor about the best option for their baby. The doctor will consider the baby’s medical history, risk factors, and the results of the car seat test to make a recommendation.
Here are some additional tips for parents whose baby has failed the car seat test:
- Make sure that the car seat is installed correctly. The car seat should be tightly secured to the vehicle and the baby should be properly harnessed. A certified CPST can help parents install the car seat correctly and show them how to harness their baby safely.
- Place the car seat in the rear-facing position. This is the safest position for babies and toddlers to travel in.
- Keep the baby hydrated and comfortable during the car ride.
- Take breaks every 2 hours to feed the baby and let them stretch out.
- Be aware of the signs of distress, such as rapid breathing, sweating, or turning blue. If you see any of these signs, pull over immediately and contact 911.
By following these tips, parents can help to ensure that their baby travels safely in a car seat, even if they have failed the car seat test.
What is a flat bed car seat?
A flat bed car seat is a specially designed car seat that allows babies to lie flat on their backs. This is important for premature babies and babies with certain medical conditions, as it helps to keep their airways open and reduces the risk of breathing problems. Flat bed car seats are also used to transport babies to and from the hospital and other medical facilities.
Flat bed car seats are different from traditional car seats in a few ways. First, they have a flat base that allows the baby to lie flat on their back. Second, they have a harness system that keeps the baby securely in place. Finally, they have a canopy that protects the baby from the sun and other elements.
Flat bed car seats are not approved for everyday use in cars. They are only approved for use in medical transportation vehicles and in certain types of cars with special modifications. Parents who need to use a flat bed car seat should talk to their doctor or a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST) to get more information.
Here are some examples of flat bed car seats:
- Safety 1st Dreamride LATCH Infant Car Bed
- Graco LiteRider LX Stroller Travel System
- Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat
- Baby Trend Ally Newborn Baby Infant Car Seat Carrier Travel System
- Cosco Dreamride SE Latch Preemie Baby Infant Seat Auto Car Bed Carrier
If you are considering using a flat bed car seat, it is important to talk to your doctor or a certified child passenger safety technician (CPST) to get more information. They can help you choose the right type of car seat for your baby and show you how to install and use it correctly.