Infant car seats save thousands of lives each year when they are properly installed in the car. The newest versions can also be used as hand-held baby carriers and snap-in seats in strollers. But improper use of these safety devices outside the car can lead to serious injuries. When your child is in his or her car seat and placed on a high surface, the potential for serious falls is very real.

Infant car seats save thousands of lives each year when they are properly installed in the car. The newest versions can also be used as hand-held baby carriers and snap-in seats in strollers. But improper use of these safety devices outside the car can lead to serious injuries. When your child is in his or her car seat and placed on a high surface, the potential for serious falls is very real.

These incidences can cause a range of injuries including head trauma and fractures. If your child in an infant car seat is placed on a soft surface such as a couch or a crib mattress, the seat can tip over, leaving your baby face-down and at risk for suffocation.

Car seats are everywhere in the home and they have become so portable that you may not think twice about carrying your child into the home in a car seat, then placing him or her on a counter or table while you take care of errands around the house.

The bottom line is if it's high up, it's high risk. Ideally, infant car seats should be kept in the car to be used as intended. If you do take the infant car seat out of the car, place it on the floor and make sure to keep the buckles secure. Placing the car seat on anything higher than the floor and not securing the buckles puts your child at serious risk.

This advice holds true against a popular child-care tip. A lot of parents have heard that it's good to place their child on a washer or dryer in an infant car seat and let the vibrations put their baby to sleep.

There have been serious injuries when the parent is distracted and the vibration pitches the baby off and onto the floor.

Infant car seats should be used for what they were made to do: to keep your child safe in a moving vehicle.

If you do take the car seat out with your child in it, make sure to keep your child buckled and to place it on the floor and nowhere higher. Remember: if it's high up, it's high risk.