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Car seat fears for Caithness mothers after baby suffers seizure

Susanne Robertson spoke out after her baby had a fit on the way home from Glasgow. Picture: Robert MacDonald/Northern Studios.
Susanne Robertson spoke out after her baby had a fit on the way home from Glasgow. Picture: Robert MacDonald/Northern Studios.

Expectant mothers in Caithness have voiced concerns about their journey home from hospital after a baby suffered a seizure when driven less than two hours in a car seat.

A Falkirk woman spoke out after her baby had a fit on the way home from Glasgow.

Caithness babies face a three-hour trip and pressure group Chat (Caithness Health Action Group) has asked what measures have been taken to reduce the risk for newborn babies.

NHS Highland advised taking regular breaks and lifting babies out of the car during long journeys.

Susanne Robertson, 38, of John O’Groats, is pregnant with only nine weeks to go.

The nurse is extremely worried about taking her baby home. She said: “It’s a big concern. You just want to get home, you are already so far away. Stopping disturbing babies just adds to your time in the car.

“From my house to Raigmore Hospital you are looking at three hours on a good day. I counted five sets of traffic lights on my last trip down attending a course.

“I’m relieved that I will have my baby when there is no ice on the road. But we have got the North Coast 500 route which is very busy with campervans and convoys of vehicles.

“I have been seen by the midwife and there has been no information. The mother from Falkirk travelled home from Glasgow and her baby had a fit. I’m travelling 120 miles north to where there is no paediatrician.”

Maria Aitken, secretary of Chat, said: “It is a huge worry for families. I know one mother bought a car seat where the baby can lie flat. But they are very expensive. Most families can’t afford special seats. Chat are looking to buy some.”

A spokesman for NHS Highland said that information is available on the health board website.

He said: “We offer car seat awareness advice accompanied with a leaflet which was developed by our Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioners. This advice is aimed at babies less than 35 weeks gestation, less than 2.2 kilograms and for any baby who has required respiratory support for more than five days.

“Parents bring their car seat in several days before discharge, the baby will be positioned in the car seat and appropriate head and body positioning is discussed.

“Advice is also given if taking long journeys to have regular breaks and lifting the baby out of the car seat and if possible an adult should travel next to the baby.

“For babies outwith the criteria we offer, standard advice applies. It’s important to continue to use car seats as required by law and to keep a watchful eye on babies travelling in a car seat.

“Taking regular breaks and lifting baby out of the car seat for long journeys are also discussed.”

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