Parents given strict instructions on how long to leave newborns in a car seat

New parents are being warned that newborn babies can suffocate if they are strapped to a car seat for more than 30 minutes, a study has revealed.

A poll of 2,000 parents conducted by Churchill Car Insurance showed only 31 per cent percents of parents are aware that long periods of time in a car can cause infants to suffer breathing difficulties and a higher heart rate.

Another one-third of parents did not realise that they should be taking a 15-minute break every two hours when travelling with an infant.

And 75 per cent of the surveyed parents said they were not aware that they should not travel for longer than 30 minutes with an infant.

Surprisingly, most younger parents were more aware of the risks than those aged 35 or older.

Prof Peter Fleming, from the University of Bristol, helped conducted previous research on the impact of car seats on babies.

He found that newborns sat at a 40 degree angle for up to 30 minutes can be affected due to their 'scrunched up' position.

He said: "Although it is very important for parents to always use an appropriate car seat for young babies on car journeys, the baby should always be taken out of the seat and placed in a suitable sleeping place such as a cot or Moses basket after the journey.

"Car seats are not designed for longer periods of infant sleep.

"In the first four-to-six weeks after birth parents should try to avoid car journeys of more than 30 minutes for their baby.

"Whenever possible an adult should travel with the baby in the back seat of the car to keep a check on their position and well-being.

"If longer journeys are unavoidable, please take regular breaks in which the baby is taken out of the car seat as much as possible."

Alex Borgnis, head of car insurance at Churchill, said driving with newborns is usually unavoidable, but advised parents to follow simple steps to keep babies safe in car seats.

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