NEWS | June 17, 2020

UC Davis Health replaces car seat challenge with new standard of care

(SACRAMENTO)

UC Davis Health is no longer performing routine car seat challenges for newborn infants before hospital discharge. In a car seat challenge, infants born before 37 weeks gestation or who, at birth, weighed less than 2,500 grams are secured into a car seat, reclined to the appropriate angle for travel, and nurses monitor the respiration and oxygen levels of the baby for up to 120 minutes before infants can be discharged from the hospital.

The bedside nurse reviews car seat information with parents or guardians before hospital discharge. The bedside nurse reviews car seat information with parents or guardians before hospital discharge.

Instead, UC Davis Health has adopted a new standard of care to teach parents of newborn patients:

  • Safe positioning of the car seat in the car
  • Proper and safe placement of infants in the car seat
  • The importance of using the car seat only in a motor vehicle and not as a place for sleeping outside of the vehicle
  • The value of having an adult in the back seat to monitor the position of the infant.

The bedside nurse reviews this information with the parents or guardians before hospital discharge.

If a physician has concerns about the safety of a car seat for an infant (due to anatomic abnormalities of the airway), a car seat challenge can be ordered.

“The change was made after a careful review of data which shows that infant death in a car seat during travel other than related to a car accident is extremely rare. Evidence also showed that the current practice of infant car seat challenge increases length of stay in the hospital for infants who fail the challenge without any measured improvement in outcome,” said Christy Adams, trauma prevention coordinator at UC Davis Health.

For more information about these changes, contact Christy Adams at cmadams@ucdavis.edu.