Can we reduce episodes of haemoglobin desaturation in full-term babies restrained in car seats?

Acta Paediatr. 2008 Jan;97(1):105-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00584.x. Epub 2007 Dec 3.


Objectives: To determine whether episodes of haemoglobin oxygen (SpO2) desaturation in full-term infants restrained in car seats can be reduced by a simple foam plastic infant car seat insert designed to push the body forward, with space for the protuberant occiput to lie behind the spine, and so reduce flexion of the infant's head on the trunk.

Methods: Eighteen healthy full-term babies were evaluated while restrained in an infant car safety seat with, and without, the foam insert. Infants were monitored in each position for 30 min with continuous polygraphic recording of respiratory and heart rate, nasal airflow and SpO2.

Results: Placement of the insert in the car seat was associated with a significant reduction in the rate of apneas with a fall in SpO2 >5% (median, interquartile range: 4.4 (0, 10.6) vs. 9.2 (5.4, 15.2) events per hour, p=0.03). The one clinically severe episode of apnea, with a fall in SpO2 of more than 30%, occurred in the car seat without the insert.

Conclusions: A car seat insert that allows the newborn's head to lie in a neutral position during sleep may reduce the frequency of mild episodes of reduced SpO2 in some full-term newborn babies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / complications
  • Airway Obstruction / prevention & control*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Equipment Design / methods
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / etiology
  • Hypoxia / prevention & control*
  • Infant Equipment / standards*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Oximetry
  • Term Birth


  • Hemoglobins