After your infant is discharged from the neonatal intensive
care unit (NICU), you may need to take special precautions for car
In most cases the safest way for a healthy premature infant to travel is by car seat.1 But some premature infants cannot sit in a car seat without
slouching over, which interferes with their breathing and oxygen supply. Before
discharging your infant from the hospital, the NICU staff will monitor for
breathing and oxygen problems while your infant sits in your car seat. If he or
she "fails" the car seat test, a car bed will be needed for transport until
your infant is stronger. Many hospitals have car beds available to rent or
If your infant is sent home with oxygen, a monitor, or other
supportive technology, secure the equipment under a vehicle seat or on the
floor during travel.
For more information about car seats, see the topic Child Car Seats.
Bull MJ, et al. (2009). Safe transportation of preterm and low birth weight infants at hospital discharge. Pediatrics, 123(5): 1424–1429.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.