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Seat Belt Safety for Pregnant Mothers

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pregnant woman in seat belt holding bellyExpectant mothers tend to worry about problems and issues they never had to before. One of these concerns is often proper placement of their seat belts. Most adults know how to properly secure themselves using belts, and parents know how to buckle their kids in, but expectant mothers face different challenges when it comes to wearing their safety belts.

Safety Concerns Among Pregnant Women Regarding Seat Belts

Seat belts work by constricting when they feel a person move forward abruptly. Although this feature is excellent when it comes to keeping someone in the seat, it can become dangerous to a pregnant mother. A seat belt that presses into a pregnant belly can actually harm the mother and/or the baby.

A variety of problems can occur because of a seat belt that is too tight, including bleeding and death to the baby because of injuries caused by the seatbelt. For this reason, some mothers wonder if they should wear seat belts at all to avoid the potential problems. However, not wearing a seat belt during a collision poses a far greater risk. Although anyone who is involved in an accident when not wearing a seat belt is in danger of becoming seriously injured—or worse—women who are pregnant risk a few more devastating issues, including miscarriage, stillbirth, placental abruption, premature membrane rupture, and preterm labor. Drivers and passengers in Texas who don’t wear their seat belts when in vehicles also face up to $200 in fines and court costs for failing to do so, which makes wearing a seat belt even more advantageous.

The Proper Way for Pregnant Women to Wear Seat Belts

Expectant mothers can increase the chances of keeping themselves and their babies safe by wearing their seat belts properly. Most of the concern has to do with the lap belt. These belts become extremely tight, which is a problem since they sit right across the stomach and can potentially cause problems. Additionally, the shoulder belt could also cause issues if not worn properly. Proper placement of the belt, however, can keep you and your unborn child safe. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, mothers should wear their seat belts in this safe manner:

  • Safety belt placement. Pregnant women should place the lap belt underneath their stomachs, so that they fit snuggly up against their hips and pelvis. The lap belt should never sit on top of the belly. The shoulder strap should be positioned away from the neck—still on the shoulder—and across the chest, between the breasts. Expectant mothers should never place the shoulder straps behind their backs or arms, however, as they offer no protection when in those positions.
  • Seat placement. Seat placement is often just as important as safety belt placement when it comes to expectant mothers. This is because the steering wheel can cause serious and grave damage to the baby or the mother if it comes in contact with the woman’s stomach. For this reason, pregnant women need to create as much space as possible between their stomachs and the steering wheel, while still being able to drive safely. Adjust your seat to a comfortable and upright position so that you can reach the pedals, and have a large space, at least 10 inches, if possible, between you and the wheel. Reclining your seat too much, however, can cause a large gap between your body and the safety belt, which can prevent the belt from doing what it should effectively.

When Safe Practices Still Fail to Protect You

No matter what safety measures you take, you can’t always prevent an accident from happening. If you or your unborn child was injured in a crash in the Austin or surrounding area, you may be entitled to receive compensation, and the attorneys of Wayne Wright would like to help. Contact us today to speak with a legal professional about your situation by calling 800-237-3334. We know we can’t change what happened, but we may be able to get you the justice you deserve.

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