Some women are concerned that wearing a seatbelt might be dangerous during their pregnancies. In a crash, expectant mothers can fear the seatbelt might put too much pressure on the stomach area. Realistically, the seatbelt can be incredibly dangerous for an infant. According to one study, an infant in the uterus is up to 5 times more likely to die than an infant or child restrained in a car seat in the same car. However, a mom is 3 times safer when wearing a seatbelt than when going without one.
At around 16 weeks, if not earlier, the uterus placenta and embryo are in the direct path of the lap portion of the seatbelt during a crash. If the pregnancy is advanced, this could mean the strap compresses the pregnancy in order to contact the hip bones and keep the woman safe during an accident. The force of the crash could but hundreds of pounds of pressure on the pregnancy, which could cause severe damage.
Despite a mother’s best intentions to keep her infant completely safe, it is still preferable and more secure to wear a seatbelt. For pregnant women, the best practice for wearing 3-point seatbelts is to put the strap under the belly bump, low on the hips or on the thigh. The shoulder strap should be above the belly bump between the breasts and on the shoulder. Pregnant women who are driving should move the seat back to maximize the distance between the belly and the steering wheel.
The best place to be during a car accident is actually the back seat, regardless of whether or not you’re a pregnant woman. Injuries from car crashes tend to be less severe to people who are sitting in the back and buckled in. Data has also shown that shoulder and lap belts are effective at reducing injury to both mother and fetus. A study in 2008 showed that if pregnant women had used proper seatbelt positions, it would have reduced the number of fetal deaths in car crashes by half. The study showed the best way to protect a baby is to safeguard his or her mother.
The only way to avoid the danger of the seatbelt completely is for pregnant women to walk or take public transportation, which is statistically safer than driving a passenger car. Likewise, any pregnant woman who has been involved in an accident should see her doctor as soon as possible. Internal bleeding can be hard to detect if you’re not a trained physician, and you want to ensure your baby is as safe and injury free as possible.
Shoulder straps and airbags are also suspected of causing problems in the event of an accident. However, a leading researcher noted that she doesn’t see any connection between the shoulder belt and abdominal injuries. Mostly, it was lap belts riding too high up the abdomen which caused issues. Likewise, data from another study showed that airbags didn’t appear to worsen fetal outcomes when pregnant women were also restrained by 3-point seatbelts.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, make sure you have experienced representation from an excellent Woodstock personal injury attorney. Sometimes insurance companies can be difficult to deal with, even when you have a legitimate claim. Our team at Hartman-Imbriale LLP can bring a wealth of insight, experience, and skill to your case. We have been proudly representing clients throughout Canton and the surrounding areas since 1990. Let us use our 25+ years of experience on your behalf. Contact us at (678) 647-7220 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation with us today.