Researchers reviewed 47 deaths of children aged younger than 2 years, newborns as well as toddlers, that occurred in sitting or carrying devices and were reported to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission between April 2004 and December 2008. Analyzing data from death certificates, coroners’ and medical examiners’ reports, and interviews with family members and witnesses, investigators determined that all but 1 of the deaths were attributable to asphyxia by position or strangulation.
Thirty-one infants died in car seats, 5 in slings, 4 in swings, 4 in bouncers, and 3 in strollers. Of the children who died in car seats, 52% died of strangulation on the straps and the rest of positional asphyxia. Children as old as 2 years died in car seats, whereas babies up to 8 months died in other types of devices.
The researchers found wide variations in the time between when a caregiver last saw the child and the child was found dead, from as little as 4 minutes to as long as 11 hours. Mean times were 26 minutes for slings, 32 minutes for strollers, 140 minutes for car seats, 150 minutes for bouncers, and 300 minutes for swings.