Buckling Up During Pregnancy
Research has determined that about one in every 25 pregnant women is involved in a police reported vehicle crash and approximately 17 percent of these soon-to-be-mothers weren't buckled up*.
Doctors recommend you always wear your safety belt while pregnant because you are your baby’s first car seat.
Wear your safety belt properly
Push the lap part of the belt down low, under your abdomen. The shoulder belt should be across the center of the shoulder and chest. Never place a safety belt under your arm or behind your back. Adjust your seat belt snugly. If you wear a heavy coat, open it and pull it to both sides, away from your belly.
Don’t disconnect the airbag
Doctors recommend pregnant women wear seat belts and leave the air bag on. The two systems work together to protect both you and your unborn child. Move your vehicle seat as far back as possible while still able to fully compress the gas and brake pedals. Your breastbone should be at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel or dashboard. As your abdomen grows during pregnancy, move the seat back to keep as much distance as possible. Make sure all other occupants and objects are properly restrained.
Get yourself checked at the emergency department after any crash even a minor one. Your baby could be seriously hurt even if you do not seem injured.
To increase your safety:
- Drive or ride during daylight hours and good weather.
- Ride with drivers who are alert, cautious and good defensive drivers.
- Don't ride with impaired drivers.
- Drive familiar routes.
- Make sure your vehicle is well maintained.
Reduce the time you spend in the car:
- Arrange for people to visit you or meet part way.
- Combine errands to cut-down on shopping trips.
- Shop online.
- Ask someone else to make the trip.
- Postpone trips until after pregnancy.
- Arrange for increased telecommuting to work if possible.
- Arrange for home nursing visits rather than trips to the doctor.
- Fly rather than take long car trip's
*Center for Injury Research and Control University of Pittsburgh www.pregnantcrash.org