Seat Belt Safety for Pregnant Women
Nowadays it is common knowledge that wearing a seat belt while in a vehicle will greatly improve your safety in the event of a crash. However, whispers of seat belt dangers for expectant mothers have planted doubt in the minds of countless pregnant women throughout the U.S.. Some women worried the pressure of the belt against their developing child could cause permanent and severe harm, especially if they were to be involved in a car accident.
Looking at the facts, experts say wearing a seatbelt is infinitely safer for both the mother and unborn child, despite these false rumors. Find out why wearing a seat belt is the safer option for pregnant women and discover how it should be worn properly to accommodate an expectant mother.
Know the Facts
Multiple studies have analyzed the role seat belts play in injuries to pregnant women and their unborn children in the event of a car accident. Each study, though different, reached the same general conclusion—wearing a seat belt is always safer. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan conducted a study that indicated 62% of accidents that lead to serious health issues for the unborn child were the result of the mother not wearing her seat belt.
In a separate study conducted by Dr. Mark Pearlman, 80% of the pregnant women in the study who did not use their seat belt either lost their baby or the unborn baby suffered health complications. This study also found that mothers who wore their seat belts correctly suffered loss or injury to their babies less than one-third of the time, whereas women who wore their seat belts incorrectly suffered losses or injuries roughly half of the time. The findings indicated that if the mother was protected in a crash, it served to better shelter the child.
How to Wear a Seatbelt Properly While Pregnant
While it is certainly safer to wear a seat belt while pregnant, the way in which you wear it could have a significant impact on how effective it is as a safety measure. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that pregnant women wear their seatbelts below and over their developing bump to remove pressure from the unborn child. The lap strap should fit below the belly, between the hips, while the shoulder strap should rest between the breasts. Putting the strap across the belly could cause serious injury to the baby if you stop suddenly or if you are in a crash. Also, if you are driving you may need to adjust how close you sit to the steering wheel as your belly grows. All drivers should retain at least 10 inches between their chest and the steering wheel, but pregnant women may need to increase this distance so that the belly does not touch the wheel.
You may also choose to seek alternative options for buckling in you and your unborn child. There are a variety of devices on the market designed to improve the comfort of seat belts for expectant mothers while also creating a safer design for the protection of both the mother and child. Some of these devices make it easier to pull the strap downward, even attaching it between the legs so that the legs are somewhat buckled in as well as the lowermost belly area. If you are contemplating an alternative seat belt device, discuss the decision with your doctor and determine what is safest for you and your child.
If you or a loved one who is expecting a child is ever injured in an accident, seek medical attention immediately to ensure the safety of the mother and unborn child. Following that, contact Ross Nott, Attorney at Law to discuss your legal options. If your injuries were caused by the negligence of another driver, a faulty product manufacturer, or some other cause, you may be able to seek compensation.
Contact Ross Nott, Attorney at Law today if you believe you have a personal injury case.