Is the infant car seat challenge useful? A pilot study in a simulated moving vehicle

Renu Arya, Georgina Williams, Anna Catherine Kilonback, Martin Toward, Michael Griffin, Peter S Blair, Peter Fleming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
668 Downloads (Pure)


Background and Objective: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends preterm infants complete a pre-discharge “car seat challenge” observation for cardiorespiratory compromise whilst in a car seat. This static challenge does not consider the more upright position in a car or the vibration of the seat when the car is moving. This pilot study was designed to assess the cardiorespiratory effects of vibration, mimicking the effect of being in a moving car, on preterm and term infants.

Methods: A simulator was designed to reproduce vertical vibration similar to that in a rear facing car seat at 30mph. 19 healthy newborn term and 21 preterm infants, ready for hospital discharge, underwent cardiorespiratory measurements whilst lying flat in a cot (baseline), static in the seat (30°), simulator (40°) and during motion (vibration 40°).

Results: Median test age was 13 days (range 1- 65 days), and median weight was 2.5Kg [iqr: 2.1-3.1Kg]. Compared to baseline observations, only the total number of desaturations was significantly increased when infants were placed at 30° (p=0.03). At 40°, or with vibration, respiratory and heart rates increased and oxygen saturation decreased significantly. Profound desaturations <85% significantly increased during motion, regardless of gestational age.

Conclusions: This is the first study to assess the effect of motion on infants seated in a car safety seat. Term and preterm infants showed significant signs of potentially adverse cardiorespiratory effects in the upright position at 40° particularly with simulated motion; not identified in the standard challenge. A larger study is required to investigate the significance of these results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F136-F141
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition
Issue number2
Early online date30 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Infant Care
  • Infant Equipment


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