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Buckling Up for Two



 baby’s first ride is in the mother’s womb. Read on to learn steps to insure that your Sunday afternoon drive won’t be your baby’s last one.


In terms of the safety of an unborn child in a car accident, there are some chilling statistics. In the United States, the number of fetal car-related deaths hovers around 350 per year.


There is a reason for this, and it is not the negligence of the mother. Today, everyone in the car is protected by advanced safety systems — except an unborn child.


Many pregnant women are concerned about the effect a secure seat belt will have on their unborn. Some women reported that in the last stages of pregnancy, the seatbelt was uncomfortable, caused chafing on the lower abdomen, and that it slipped upwards instead of remaining on the hips. Other women found that the belt was too tight across the chest, or not long enough to fit around. The result: many pregnant women decided to forgo their seatbelts entirely.


Yes, it is true that seat belts may squeeze the unborn baby in a crash, but it is also true that wearing a seatbelt is a far smarter choice. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stated that, “there is no evidence that safety belts increase the chance of injury to the baby, uterus, or placenta, no matter how severe the collision.” That’s because several layers inside the mother, including muscle, fat, organs, and fluids cushion unborn babies.


The truth is that the biggest threat to an unborn baby in a car crash is the death of the mother. Faced with this fact, there is no real choice here — you MUST buckle up!


But many expectant mothers are confused about exactly where to place the belt in order to provide the most protection. In fact, the way a pregnant woman wears her seatbelt can make a difference, and there are ways of making her more comfortable as well as safer.


The lap belt should be placed low, below the abdomen. It should NEVER be placed across it. Make sure it is either over the pelvis or the upper thighs. Also, the fit should be snug — if the belt is placed properly, this should not be uncomfortable. The real danger is when belts are worn too loosely. This can result in broken bones and injuries to the abdomen. The shoulder belt should be worn between the breasts.


Wearing a seatbelt will prevent the mother from being thrown from her seat and striking the hard surfaces inside the car. The belt distributes the force of the crash over the strongest parts of the body, which include the pelvis, hips, chest, and shoulders. The abdomen will be free to move, but remember, the fetus is floating freely inside. This will greatly reduce the possibility of fetal injury.


Additionally, do not disable the airbag. In a serious crash, it will do what it was designed to do — provide further protection for the mother and her baby. However, do sit at least 10 inches away from the dashboard. If the pregnant woman is the driver, she should make sure that the wheel is tilted toward her chest and not her abdomen or head.


Wearing your seat belt properly prepares you to become a responsible parent BEFORE you give birth. So for a safe ride, be sure to buckle up!


Also see:

Safety Issues for Cars & Drivers  

Driving Safely with Disabilities -People all across America are driving with disabilities requiring special modifications.

Important Tips About Child Restraints-Part 2 -continuation of car seat safety.

Important Tips About Child Restraints-Part 3 -final chapter of the car seat series.

Emergency:Loss of Steering Due to a Blowout -learn these important tips for dealing with a sudden blowout.


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