Tragedy Highlights Car Seat Safety

By: Brittany Gunter
By: Brittany Gunter

A heart breaking loss for an Omaha family; a one year old dies under the care of a daycare worker after he’s left to sleep in a car seat. A safety expert says it’s something that could have been prevented.

A picture of Chase Hunter shows the child smiling, playing with his toys. Sadly on February 22nd the little one’s life was cut short. Police say Elizabeth Harding, who ran an unlicensed daycare, left Chase in a car seat to sleep with the harness unbuckled. As he was sleeping he moved, the harness wrapped around his neck, strangling him.

Harding has been charged with child neglect resulting in death. Safety expert Jane Husz says Chase shouldn’t have been sleeping in the car seat.

“A car seat is a car seat, it needs to be in the car,” said Husz. "What happens is the child is in a car seat for an extended time they will slump down and any time they slump down their lungs will be compromised and breathing ability is diminished."

She says the best place for a child to sleep is a crib. “It needs to be in a crib, or port-a-crib works fine. Just make sure there is a tight sheet, no other toys, or blankets, nothing in there."

She says parents should use a car seat in the car, but it’s important to use it correctly. “The straps need to be tight enough that you can’t pinch them.” “This part needs to be up high, even with the armpit of the baby.”

A common question, ‘What do you do if you can’t get your baby to sleep without the car seat?’ Husz says don’t let them get used to it. Another question, ‘What if you take the straps off when it’s inside?’ Husz says it’s still not a good idea to have them sleep in the car seat because they will be sleeping on an angle.

If you have any questions or would like to check the safety of your child’s car seat we have a link below for more information.

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