The Post-Discharge Car Seat Challenge: An Investigation of Utilization and Feasibility

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Assuring the safe transportation of infants is a well-known requirement at the time of hospital discharge, and consequently, medically fragile and/or premature infants generally undergo a car seat challenge to ensure they are physiologically ready to travel in a rear-facing car seat. Most tested (or challenged) infants will travel home from the hospital in a properly fitted car seat; however, because some infants are unable to maintain a patent airway in the semi-reclined position of a car seat, they must instead travel home in a recumbent car bed. Infants that initially fail the car seat challenge should undergo an additional car seat challenge prior to transitioning to a traditional, semi-reclined car seat. Although predischarge challenges are performed at the author's local hospital on an as-needed basis, there was no locally accessible option for car seat challenges to occur after hospital discharge. To address this service gap, the author explored the feasibility, utilization, and potential implementation of a program to provide post-discharge car seat challenges using Kotter's Change Management Model as a guide for program development. Informed by the evidence and study findings, the local clinic subsequently adopted a post-discharge car seat challenge program into current practice.

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