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Rear-facing car seats are the safest option for most premature babies. These car seats support babies so they can ride safely in the car. It's safest to use a rear-facing seat until your baby is the top weight or height allowed by the car seat maker.
Some premature babies can't ride in a car seat without slouching over. This can cause a problem with oxygen supply and make it harder to breathe. In rare cases, babies might need a special bed for the car. Your doctor may do a car seat test to see what works best for your baby.
Convertible car seats are not recommended for premature babies, who are often smaller than full-term babies.
Before you can take your premature baby home from the hospital, you may need to take special steps for safe car travel. These tips can help make sure your baby travels safely.
Buy a car seat that's recommended for your baby's weight and height. If your baby can't ride in a car seat without slouching over, there are other options. Ask your doctor what's best for your baby.
Thick layers can compress in a crash. This may leave the car seat straps too loose to protect your baby. Babies should be dressed in thin layers before being strapped into the car seat. If needed, wrap a blanket or coat around your baby and the straps of the car seat.
This is the safest place in the car for all children. Never place your baby's car seat in the front seat of any vehicle. Follow the maker's instructions for how to install the car seat.
Your baby may be sent home with extra oxygen or a monitor. Store these devices on the floor and under the vehicle seat.
Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine & Thomas Emmett Francoeur MD MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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