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Seatbelts and pregnancy: how to buckle up safely

Pregnant woman wearing her seatbelt safelyIf you’re pregnant and involved in a car accident you can significantly reduce the risk of foetal injury if you are wearing your seatbelt correctly.

But what is the right way to fasten your seatbelt when you’re pregnant?

We get tips from car safety expert Lotta Jakobsson.

Jakobsson, the Global chairperson of the International Organisation for Standardisation, says the most common potential injury risks for unborn babies in car crashes are separated placenta (most documented), leading to foetal distress and early delivery, leading to breathing and nervous system disorders.

Tips for wearing your seatbelt correctly while pregnant

Q. Why is it important to wear your seatbelt correctly if pregnant?

A. The seatbelt is the primary safety system, protecting you in any crash situation. Using the seatbelt is essential for everyone riding in the car, even when pregnant.

Q. What are the risks to the unborn baby in a car accident?

A. The highest risk for the unborn baby is if you are injured. So, the highest priority is to make sure that you are protected optimally. As for everyone, it is essential that the lap portion of the seat belt lies over the thighs, below the belly, and the shoulder portion of the belt across the shoulder.

If unrestrained, the crash will cause high forces, and potentially injuries, when impacting the steering wheel or the car interior. Also, if the belt lies across the belly, direct forces to the belly can injure the unborn baby, so always make sure that the belt stays under the belly, over the thighs.

Q. What is the most common way pregnant women wear seatbelts incorrectly?

A. The most common mistake is that they forget to adjust the belt position. Make sure to always adjust the position of the belt.

READ: Our Ultimate Guide to Baby Car Seats so you’re prepared for when baby arrives

How to fasten your seatbelt when pregnant

  1. Adjust the seat so you can reach the pedals comfortably with as much distance between your belly and the steering wheel as possible.
  2. Pull the lap belt over your thighs, buckle it in and pull tight. Make sure the lap belt does not run across the belly, but lies as flat as possible under the curve.
  3. Position the torso belt across your chest, between the breasts to the side of the belly and pull tight.
  4. Never tuck the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back – that can hurt both you and the baby.

Image credit: yuliab/123RF Stock Photo

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