The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends observation of preterm and at-risk infants in their car seat before hospital discharge to screen for breathing problems. This observation period, which we refer to as the infant car seat challenge (ICSC), is used to determine readiness for travel in a car seat. Infants who fail the ICSC are recommended to travel in a car bed. Limited data exist to identify risk factors for failing the ICSC, and no guidelines are available to facilitate transition from car beds to car seats. The purpose of this study was to determine whether weight and age are predictors for passing the ICSC.


This retrospective study evaluated 43 infants referred to the Children's Hospital Boston Center for Healthy Infant Lung Development for a repeat ICSC after initial failure and 37 infants who passed or failed their initial ICSC at the Caritas Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center. Gender, birth weight, gestational age (GA), weight (ICSC weight), corrected GA, and chronological age at time of ICSC were extracted, and logistic regression analysis was performed.


The average GA at birth of infants referred was 35 weeks 2 days (±2 weeks 3 days), and almost equal numbers of boys and girls were referred. A majority of infants passed their initial rechallenge (38 [88%] of 43). Infants who failed the repeat challenge were slightly smaller (3327 ± 927 vs 3913 ± 936 g) and younger at time of retesting (CGA 40 weeks 5 days vs 42 weeks 5 days; chronological age 39.2 vs 52.2 days). Neither weight nor age at initial or repeat ICSC predicted passing the ICSC.


This study suggests that ICSC screenings remain the safest method for transitioning preterm infants from a car bed to a car seat.

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