Can You Put a Swaddled Baby in a Car Seat? Explained

Babies sleep everywhere, including in the car, and you’ll get to realize this as a parent. At every given opportunity, they’re getting their beauty sleep, not minding whether they’re placed in a stroller, a bassinet, or a car seat.

If you wish to take your baby on a journey, maybe to work, you’d need extra tactics to do so safely. 

That is why many parents who intend to carry their babies with them wonder if, as a parent, can you put a swaddled baby in a car seat while driving?

Table of Contents

Can You Put a Swaddled Baby in a Car Seat?

Can you put a swaddled baby in a car seat while driving as a parent or guardian? This question has been a topic of debate amongst many parents. 

Although many claims they do it regularly without consequences, the truth is that you should never put a swaddled baby in a car seat while driving.

This is because a swaddled baby has its limbs wrapped in a blanket, meaning the seat belt’s shoulder straps have been rendered ineffective since there are no arms to strap over.

This leaves a bundled-up baby with only the neck and heads free. This can be uncomfortable and suffocating already and may cause difficulty in breathing.

Sleeping in the car is an all-time favorite moment for newborns. The sounds from the car engine and car motion are stimulating and soothing enough to keep them sleeping calmly.

However, sleeping in a car seat for long hours is not good for babies. As adults, we have our ways around these things and may know how to adjust to every uncomfortable situation.

We know how to lay to prevent neck cramps or how to protect ourselves in case of an accident. But babies do not know these things, and they are helpless even if they understand the situation.

Driving around with a baby sleeping in the car seat for long hours can lead to difficulty breathing, suffocation, and, worse cases, death.

This is because a baby’s head is heavier than the rest of its body, and if placed in the upright sitting position, the head’s weight may pull on the rest of the body, causing a forward motion that can lead to choking.

Read Also: Can I put a swaddled baby in the swing

Is it Safe to Put a Swaddled Baby in a Car Seat?

No, it is not safe to drive around with a swaddled baby in the car seat. It may look cute that your baby is enjoying his nap when you casually drive around town, but it puts your baby at risk of suffocating and choking.

If you want to have your baby sleeping by your side when you drive, placing him in a convertible car seat without wrapping him up with so much fabric is better.

In fact, it is advisable to take out unnecessary clothes wherever your baby is placed to sleep, be it in a crib, bassinet, or stroller. So that it doesn’t mistakenly strangle or suffocate itself with it.

There are more comfortable and safe ways to carry your baby along without swaddling him up. Some include using a stroller or bassinet for short-distance walks and a car seat or baby carrier.

If you must wrap your baby in blankets while on the go, free his arms and legs and make sure you use the harness.

Read Also: How To Swaddle Baby in Summer

Can You Put a Swaddled Baby in a Stroller?

Be it a car seat, pram, crib, or stroller, wrapping up your baby and placing it there while on the go is very dangerous and puts your baby’s life at risk.

Completely wrapping up a baby in a blanket with both arms and legs is an unhealthy practice and should be discouraged amongst parents, especially those new to parenting.

Except if an adult is cuddling the baby up, swaddling can be quite inconvenient for babies and, coupled with the motion of the stroller or car, may cause difficulty breathing.

Also, swaddling can lead to overheating and prevent your baby from getting adequate sleep since it won’t be comfortable. 

Take note of sweat beads, damp hair, flushed cheeks, skin rash, and rapid breathing whenever your baby is wrapped in a blanket because they’re the signs of overheating.

How Many Hours Should a Baby be swaddled in a Day?

As threatening as swaddling may seem, it is not completely unhealthy to wrap your baby up in blankets, especially during the early stages after their birth and during cold weather.

Swaddling gives them warmth, prevents them from getting injured, and prevents sudden infant death syndrome (SIDs). 

But you should regulate it from time to time to give the baby some breathing space. For starters, about 12-20 hours a day is safe for babies in the first few weeks of their birth.

How to Correctly Swaddle a Baby

The problem with wrapping babies in blankets is that some parents do not know how to do it correctly. This leads to discomfort in babies.

This is one of the reasons why parents are discouraged from putting a swaddled baby in the car seat because sometimes, the babies are wrapped wrongly.

Here are some tips on how to Correctly wrap your baby in a blanket;

  • Place the blanket on a flat surface, like a mattress in the shape of a diamond.
  • Choose the corner where your baby’s head would be placed and fold it – usually, the top corner of the diamond-shaped blanket.
  • Place the baby on its back at the center of the blanket with his head over the folded corner.
  • Arrange his hands by his side with space for movement.
  • Pull the left corner over the left resting arm.
  • Fold the bottom corner over the left folded corner to cover the legs.
  • Pull the right corner over the right resting arm to close the folded bottom corner and tuck the excess fabric underneath the baby.

During this process, ensure your baby is not too tightly tucked because it will cause him a lot of discomforts.

To check that he’s not too tightly tucked, place three fingers between the swaddle and his chest. If it goes through easily, your baby is safely tucked, but if it doesn’t, you should readjust the swaddle.

Swaddling is not only done when the baby is sleeping. You can swaddle your baby while cuddling or snuggling to give him that womb-like warmth and comfort.

Read Also: How To Use SwaddleMe Wrap

How to Calm a Crying Baby in a Car Seat

In the same way, your baby cries when changing his diaper or dressing him up, he may cry when strapped into his car seat. 

Here are helpful tips for you

Swaddling

The baby spends the last few months of pregnancy curled up in a fetal position with constant touch and support. Tight straps mimic this constant contact.

A blanket tucked over the straps alongside the baby’s body provides additional comfort by preventing the baby from setting off their startle reflex when their arm is at their side.

Shushing Sounds

In utero, babies hear continuous white noise as blood circulates through their mother’s body. You can imitate this sound by creating a smooth shushing sound.

Sucking

This is another effective way to calm your crying baby. Offer the pacifier once in the car seat.

Swinging

Babies in utero are used to constant movement since they move along with their mother when she moves. Baby misses this constant movement and has difficulty adjusting without it. 

Having buckled up your baby in the car seat, gently swing the handle of the seat to mimic the motion that your baby is used to.

In the same way, your baby cries when changing his diaper or dressing him up, he may cry when strapped into his car seat. 

Here are helpful tips for you

Swaddling

The baby spends the last few months of pregnancy curled up in a fetal position with constant touch and support. Tight straps mimic this constant contact.

A blanket tucked over the straps alongside the baby’s body provides additional comfort by preventing the baby from setting off their startle reflex when their arm is at their side.

Shushing Sounds

In utero, babies hear continuous white noise as blood circulates through their mother’s body. You can imitate this sound by creating a smooth shushing sound.

Sucking

This is another effective way to calm your crying baby. Offer the pacifier once in the car seat.

Swinging

Babies in utero are used to constant movement since they move along with their mother when she moves. Baby misses this constant movement and has difficulty adjusting without it. 

Having buckled up your baby in the car seat, gently swing the handle of the seat to mimic the motion that your baby is used to.

Read:6 Months Baby Wakes Up Every Hour – 7 Tips To Help You Cope

Conclusion

Many people who give you the go-ahead when you’re wondering if you can put a swaddled baby in a car seat often do not understand its risks. And frankly, you can’t blame them since they do it out of care and concern for their babies.

However, swaddling may be safe in some cases, but not when you put the baby in a car seat. It is better to have it in a rear-facing position in a car seat.