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Baby Dies While Sleeping in Car Seat

February 17, 2014

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A tragedy in Utah tonight as a one-year old baby girl dies while sleeping in a car seat. The baby died this evening, after efforts to revive her failed. The baby's death ironically comes on the same day of a new international study, which says leaving infants in a car seat can be dangerous.

We've probably all done it — you come home from a trip and the baby is still sleeping, so rather than risk waking the baby up, you leave her in a car seat like this while she sleeps in the house. Sadly tonight, a Utah baby may have died from exactly that.

Fifteen-month old Devon Justine Greer was being cared for by a neighbor this afternoon and was left sleeping in her car seat.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon, Utah County Sheriff's Office: "She had apparently fallen asleep in the car seat in the car, but was taken into the home."

The baby girl was sleeping in a bedroom, but when the caregiver went to check on her she was not breathing.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon, Utah County Sheriff's Office: "When family here at the home went into that room a short time later, they found her unresponsive and not breathing, and that's when they called 911."

Paramedics attempted CPR for more than an hour, but it was not successful.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon, Utah County Sheriff's Office: "We have detectives who are continuing to investigate to rule out any foul play, but at this point it appears to be an accident."

This baby's death could be related to what New Zealand researchers today warned is a danger for infants. The study reviewed nine infants who suffered "life threatening breathing problems" while strapped into a car seat where they were left asleep outside the car.

The babies had their heads bent forward while they slept and that restricted their airways.

Janet Brooks with Primary Children's Hospital says the warning about letting babies sleep for long periods of time in car seats is not new, but an important reminder.

Janet Brooks, Child Advocacy Manager, Primary Children's Hospital: "Leaving kids in a car seat too long. If you take them out of the car, take them into the house. They sleep in it, they nap in it. These are all issues, not only for airways but for curvature of the spine, flatness on the back of the head; these are all issues we look at."

While it's not safe to let babies sleep for a long time in the car seat out of the car, we want to make it clear: while in a car, it's a different story. There is no question that infant car seats save lives and researchers say may reduce car accident injuries by as much as 90%.



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