Car Seats: Is it Safe for Your Baby to Sleep In?

When Fisher-Price had a recall on their Rock-n-Roll sleeper leading parents to worry if it was alright for their baby to sleep in their car seat, this even includes the popular convertible car seats.

Baby sitting in the driver seat with their hand on the wheel.


Fisher-Price is not the only baby gear manufacturer to recall a product due to safety concerns. It seems like, lately, there has been one recall after another, and it could leave parents wondering what they should use for their baby.

However, brands aside, your baby is safer in a car seat than not. And even with the recalls. Many children sleep during car rides all the time and are fine. Some even prefer the car for a nap than their own beds.

Yes, your baby can sleep in a car seat. However, let's go over some things to keep in mind when it comes to letting your little one sleep in their car seat.

Related: What to do When Your Baby Won’t Sleep

Should Babies Sleep in Their Car Seat?

Because car seats are not made for sleeping, they should be appropriately used to prevent injury. Yes, your baby can sleep in their car seat. However, it should only be while driving in the car or for other short stretches.

Many experts agree that a baby is safest in a car seat when riding in a car. However, it's important to remember they should only stay in the car seat while you are driving or if it's a short distance from your parked vehicle to your final destination.

Car seats, even ones that lock into stroller applications, should only be used while you can keep an eye on your baby. Furthermore, you should never use these devices for extended or overnight sleeping, despite some of these car seats being marketed in that way.

You can allow your baby one to sleep in the car seat when it's time to rest, but that's all. The moment you are done driving take them out of the car seat or put them in their crib to sleep. 

Even if you end up waking them up, you need to take them out of their car seat. Car seats are not for naps or overnight sleeping. Babies shouldn't stay in one position too long either way, so naps should be kept short.

A child sleeping in their car seat in an unsafe manner.

Car Seat Safety Tips

Car seats are made to keep your baby safe. Properly using your car seat can allow your baby to have a safe and peaceful nap. However, using car seats wrong can do more harm than good. So here are a few safety tips to help you keep your sleeping baby safe while traveling short distances.

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Proper Installation is Essential

The AAP recommends that children ride in rear-facing until at least age 2, or as long on as they meet the height and weight restrictions of the car seat. Depending on the seat type, rear-facing seats are all meant to be set at a 30 or 45-degree angle.

Related: How to Teach Babies To Sleep On Their Own

Manufacturers will include instructions that you should be sure to follow to make sure that your car seat is installed correctly. This is critical because when these safety devices are tested, they are installed a particular way. Furthermore, you must install your car seat that way to ensure maximum safety.

Use A 5-Point Harness.

Just like you need to install your car seat right, you have to make sure that your baby is safely buckled into the seat correctly to make sure your baby stays safe.

Every time you put your baby in their car seat, fasten the harness securely—at all times. The five-point restraint system keeps babies safe during a collision. Even if you never get into an accident, these 5-point harnesses can keep your baby from sliding down, squirming out of the car seat, or rolling out and onto the car seat, all of which could lead to suffocation.

Don't Use an Insert that Didn't Come With Your Car Seat's Model.

While using other accessories with your car seat may be tempting, it's not always a good idea. For example, a friend has an old attachment that may fit your car seat. There can be a few reasons why you don't want to do this. The point of having a car seat isn't to put your baby in danger, and if you don't pair it with the car seat manufacturer, things can quickly go wrong.

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Also, attaching it to other bases, strollers, or other accessories can wear down the features that lock in the car seat. This reduces the safety of the car seat. Babies can easily harm themselves when these safety features weaken due to misuse.

A baby sleeping in a car seat.

Keep A Close Eye On Your Baby

Just because car seats are made to keep babies safe doesn't mean that you don't need to watch your little one. Car seats are crafted to be used with adult supervision. Make sure to check on your baby during the drive from time to time, as even a properly attached seat can cause your baby harm. 

During longer drives, you may need to take breaks to check on your baby more often. Furthermore, make sure that you pull them out of the car seat during this time to allow them to stretch.


Yes, it is generally safe to allow your baby to nap while they are in the car. However, you should always check on them from time to time and make sure that you install your car seat properly.

Car seats are perfect for keeping your baby safe during car rides and are not made for sleeping. However, your little one can get a quick nap while you're traveling.

In addition, you should never rely on your car seat as a means for your baby. Also, watch out if the temperature is too extreme or you are driving at night. You will want to pull them out of their car seat and find a better sleeping space.

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