Car safety improves when you wear a seat belt, this is especially important during pregnancy when you need to protect the baby too.
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t drive. Pregnant women simply need to follow a few altered rules to accommodate the ever-growing belly and protect baby from danger in the case of an accident. Pregnancy safety in the car is all about accident safety, which means it’s extremely important to understand the basic rules of pregnancy driving and riding from the moment you find out you’re pregnant.
Questions About Seatbelt Safety
Many pregnant women have questions about seatbelt safety. Seatbelts are a safety device meant to hold the driver and passengers in the car in the case of an accident. The belt also stops the body from smashing into the dashboard, steering wheel or a forward seat if impact occurs. When pregnant, you must alter how you use the seatbelt to ensure the safety of the fetus.
- Positioning the straps. Pregnant women should always use the combination lap/shoulder belt when driving or riding in a car. Some older cars have just lap belts, which don’t provide the necessary safety for a pregnant woman in the case of an accident. Pull the buckle across your body. Ensure the shoulder strap runs between your neck and collarbone. The lap strap should run under your belly. Buckle the seatbelt and push the lap strap down toward your knees and pull the belt snug. The lap belt should be resting on your thighs, if possible.
- Loose belts are of no use. Some pregnant women feel more comfortable with a loose seatbelt, but the looser the belt the more room the body has to jar in the case of an accident. Pregnancy safety in the car centers on minimizing movement and protecting the fetus from sudden contact, either with the steering wheel or safety belt. Sit back against the seat before tightening your seatbelt. This minimizes movement and jarring.
Driving Tips for Pregnant Women
As your belly grows, pregnant women may notice the steering wheel is closer than it was before pregnancy. By the latter months of pregnancy, some women cannot slide behind the wheel of a car without their belly hitting the steering wheel. As a general rule of thumb, maintain a 10-inch space between the steering wheel and your belly. When you can no longer move the seat back to maintain that 10-inch space, it’s time for someone else to drive because it’s no longer safe.
Air Bags and Pregnancy Safety in the Car
Air bags are a safety precaution that comes standard in most newer cars. There has been some question about the safety of air bags during pregnancy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says air bags are safe and effective for protecting pregnant women in the case of an accident, especially when combined with a safety belt properly fastened below the belly.