Swindon’s Great Western Hospital is carrying out a clinical trial to find out if car seats for tiny babies are safe.
It is thought to be the first trial of its kind in the world. Baby car seats are generally designed to fit babies of three months and over.
Evidence suggests that putting premature babies in an upright position may cause breathing difficulties.
A specially designed vibrating seat will be used in the trial.
The equipment has been designed by Southampton University to imitate a car moving in a straight line at 30mph (48km/h).
Once strapped into the seat, doctors can monitor a baby’s heart rate and the oxygen levels in its blood.
Twenty premature babies from the Swindon area are taking part in the trial.
Professor Peter Fleming, who is a paediatrician involved in the trial, wants to see if there is a link.
He said: “Whilst the car seat is essential for safety in the journey, we do have concerns about small or very early babies being left for long periods of time in them.”
A spokeswoman for car seat maker Maxi-Cosi said there were car seats available, designed specifically for newborn babies, that were shallower so the baby can lie as flat as possible.