Very young babies face a small risk of sudden death when they are seated, and not only when they are lying down, according to a Canadian study.

The findings, published online by British journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, are based on an analysis of cases of sudden, unexpected deaths that occurred among infants up to the age of 12 months in Quebec, Canada, between 1991 and 2000, according to a story published on News.com.au.

Of 508 fully investigated deaths, 17, or 3.3 percent, occurred in babies who had been placed in seats, most often in car seats. The relative risk was much higher among babies who were less than a month old.

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The authors, led by Aurore Cote at the McGill University Health Center in Montreal, said the risk was relatively small and does not call car-seat safety into question.

But extra care should be taken for very young babies in any type of infant seat, they said.