Letting Your Baby Sleep in a Car Seat Can Be a Deadly Mistake

November 2, 2015 Updated: March 12, 2016

Lots of kids doze off in a car seat, but parents need to be careful to have them properly buckled in or face the consequences–including death.

Ali and Derek Dodd discovered this hidden danger the hard way when a daycare worker put their 11-week-old son Shepard in an unbuckled car seat in a room.

When the worker came back two hours later, she saw that the toddler was blue and unresponsive. After a call to 911, Shepard was rushed to the hospital–but it was too late.

“I was able to kiss him on the forehead as they wheeled him in,” Derek Dodd told KFOR. “He was cold. So I knew it was coming.”


Shepard Dodd was 11 weeks old on April 6, 2015 when he died in his infant car seat. But its not what you’re thinking….

Posted by The Car Seat Lady on Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Dodds are even more upset considering the daycare was warned just 11 days prior to the tragic death about the dangers of putting a child into a car seat for a nap. The Department of Human Services issued the daycare a citation over the issue.

Even worse, the daycare wasn’t shut down until months after Shepard died, and the only reference to the death just says that an infant was put in a car seat for a nap, not that the baby died.

“What it says on there for our incident… it says she allowed a baby to sleep in a car seat,” said Ali Dodd. “It doesn’t say anything about him dying. Even parents, wouldn’t even know that he died in her care.”

Parents have come to rely on car seats but few know about the lethal danger if babies aren’t buckled in properly.

The Babywearing Institute (pdf) recommends checking the baby’s airway frequently. Signs that the airway is restricted include grunting or snoring noises, squeaking noises, and labored breathing.

Positional asphyxia, which occurs when someone’s position prevents them from breathing adequately, can take a baby’s life in as little as two minutes.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber