Seatbelts and Pregnancy

It is generally recommended that pregnant women should wear seatbelts during pregnancy.  The best way to protect your baby is to protect your own body, and in terms of automobiles and automobile accidents, seatbelts are a necessity.  Your baby is well cushioned by the uterus and your own body protects the uterus.  By wearing a seatbelt, you reduce the risk of damage to your body.  When crashes occur, the fetus can be injured by striking the lower rim of the steering wheel or from crash forces concentrated in the area where a seat belt crosses the mother’s abdomen. The seat belt will keep a pregnant woman as far as possible from the steering wheel.

It is important that you wear the seatbelt properly during pregnancy.  The seatbelt should be worn low, across the hip bones, under the abdomen.  The shoulder strap should be placed next to the abdomen, between the breasts and over the middle of the clavicle. 

Airbags are also generally considered safe (and recommended) for pregnant women.  You should maintain a distance of 10 inches between your abdomen and the airbag deployment area or steering wheel.  Late in your pregnancy, you may not be able to get your abdomens away from the steering wheel. If the vehicle has a tilt steering wheel, make sure the steering wheel is tilted toward the breastbone, not the abdomen or the head. If you cannot get your abdomen away from the steering wheel, you may consider getting permission for a switch based on medical need.  Even in this circumstance, you should remember that in a serious crash without an airbag, sitting so close to the wheel means a high risk of hitting it.



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