A new piece of technology has gone on sale that aims to protect young children from being left in their car seats for too long.
The gadget is designed to warn parents if their babies have been in their car seat for an unhealthy length of time and can also alert them if they’ve accidentally left the child alone in the car.
Recent research found that two-thirds of parents didn’t know that prolonged periods in a car seat can be bad for the health of newborn babies.
A 2016 study funded by the Lullaby Trust found newborn babies seated at a 40-degree angle in a car seat for as little as 30 minutes can experience increased heart and breathing rates and lower blood oxygen level due to their ‘scrunched up’ position.
The report’s authors recommended that children younger than six weeks should not be left in a car seat for more than 30 minutes, advice echoed by the NHS.
The Chicco Bebecare Easy-Technology aims to help parents by alerting them if their newborn has been in their seat for longer than this.
The device is connected to a phone app via Bluetooth and attaches to the shoulder strap or harness of the child’s seat. It is activated by the parent after they have strapped their child in and at the end of the journey the parent simply deactivates it. However, if the system isn’t deactivated within the 30 minutes it sounds an alarm. If the device is still not deactivated it sends an automatic alert containing the most recent GPS location of the vehicle to a list of pre-set emergency contacts, in case the child has been left unattended.
Emily Moulder, child car seat expert for stockist Halfords commented: “Car seats are not designed for long periods of infant sleep and the advice given is that in the first six weeks of birth parents should avoid car journeys of more than 30 minutes. We think this brand new technology will give new parents reassurance and extra peace of mind.
“We also know family life is busy and mornings for most parents are full of nursery and school drop offs, so the Chicco Bebecare Easy-Technology also give parents that extra reassurance against accidently leaving their baby unattended in the car.”