Blog: Car Seats Linked to Dermatitis


"Oh my god. I've been missing this," said Dr. Moise L. Levy about a new case series on car seat dermatitis published in the Journal of Pediatric Dermatology.

The case series reported that from 2006-2009 there were 21 cases of dermatitis linked to car seats. Of the reported cases, all of the patients had symmetric dermatitis on their lateral legs, 95% had symmetric dermatitis on their elbows, and some of the case patients presented with the dermatitis on their upper posterior thighs and occipital scalp. An atopic history was present in 12 of 21 of the children.

Photo courtesy Lindsay Robinson

Car seat dermatitis on the exposed legs of children usually improves when a barrier is used.

The report noted: "Over the last several years, our clinic has documented an increasing trend of contact dermatitis presenting in areas that are in direct contact with certain types of car seats composed of a shiny, nylon-like material. Our practice has encountered these cases in both atopic and nonatopic infants, with a seasonal predilection for the warmer months. This brief report highlights some of the key features of this condition and alerts the clinician to this newly described form of contact dermatitis," (Pediatr. Dermatol. 2011;28:321).

The car seat dermatitis rapidly improves with a barrier to the car seat or by changing the car seat's fabric, reported Dr. Levy, chief of pediatric dermatology at Dell Children's Medical Center, Austin, Texas. Topical steroids and oral antibiotics can be used if a secondary infection is present.

"The question is where it is really irritant or allergic," he said at the annual meeting of the Hawaii Dermatology Seminar sponsored by Skin Disease Education Foundation.

Discussions with car seat manufacturers are underway to better elucidate details of what could be causing the reactions, such as whether the preservative dimethylfumarate is used, or if the dermatitis could be from a flame retardant.

Dr. Levy had no relevant disclosures. SDEF and this news organization are owned by Elsevier.

-Amy Pfeiffer

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