An estimated 370 fetuses die every year in car crashes. Many pregnant women believe that wearing a seatbelt is not safe for their unborn child because the lap belt could injure the fetus in an accident. This is a myth; experts say pregnant women should buckle up every time they get into a passenger vehicle. Recent research supports this view.
In a 2008 University of Michigan study on fetal outcome in motor vehicle crashes, researchers found that approximately 200 fetuses would be saved every year if pregnant women properly wore seat belts every time they were in an automobile. The study determined that injury to the mother is the main risk to the unborn child in a car crash—not the lap belt. Seat belts offer the best protection to both the mother and the fetus.
Pregnant women should follow the six tips listed below to help ensure the safety of themselves and their unborn child in a car accident:
- Fasten the lap belt securely below the belly. It should fit snugly across the hips and pelvic bone.
- Position the shoulder belt across the chest (between the breasts) and away from the neck.
- Move your car seat back as far as possible. However, if you are driving, make sure you can still reach the pedals comfortably.
- Keep space between yourself and the steering wheel. When you are driving, there should be at least 10 inches between the center of your chest and the steering wheel. As your pregnancy advances, you may have to adjust your seat position.
- Sit in the back seat if you are not driving. It is safer there.
- Wear the shoulder belt as it was designed. Never position it behind your back or under your arm.
Seatbelts save lives—including those of unborn babies. Pregnant women should follow the safety guidelines listed above and buckle up every time they get into a car. The attorneys at Russell & Lazarus are committed to promoting automobile safety in and around the Anaheim area. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact an Anaheim car accident attorney at Russell & Lazarus for a free consultation. The number is (949) 851-0222 and the call is free. You can also download a free copy of their book, The Nuts and Bolts of Litigating a Personal Injury Claim, for more information.