The Pregnant Woman’s Guide to Buckling Up
Congratulations! You’re pregnant, and you want to know if you should buckle up during your pregnancy - even when you’re far along in your term. The answer is a resounding yes.
Buckling up is the single most effective action you can take to protect yourself and your unborn child in a crash.
During a crash, being buckled up helps keep you safe inside your vehicle. If you ride unbuckled, you could be thrown out of your car or collide with other passengers. Seat belts are also the best defense against impaired, aggressive, and distracted drivers.
What about the airbag?
Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them.
In fact, if you don’t wear your seat belt, you could be thrown into a rapidly opening frontal air bag; a movement of such force could injure or even kill you. [See www.safercar.gov for more on air bag safety]
How to ride safely:
- Move your seat back as far as possible
- Make sure you can comfortably reach the pedals
- Keep at least 10 inches between the center of your chest and the steering wheel—throughout your pregnancy
- If possible, sit in the back seat; it’s safer there
- If sitting in the front seat, move the seat back as far as possible
Secure the lap belt below your belly so that if fits snugly across your hips and pelvic bone. Place the shoulder belt across your chest (between your breasts) and away from your neck. NEVER place the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back. Never place the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm.
Install your car seat at least 3 weeks before your due date and get it checked by a local certified car seat technician. [Find an inspection station near you]
Top 5 Seat Belt Questions Answered
- I'm pregnant. Should I wear a seat belt?
Yes. Doctors recommend it. In a crash, a seat belt is the best protection for both you and your unborn child.
- Should I adjust my seat?
Yes. You should move the front seat back as far as possible. If you're driving, make sure that you can still comfortably reach the pedals. But always keep at least 10 inches between the center of your chest and the steering wheel cover or dashboard. As your abdomen grows during pregnancy, adjust your seat to maintain
this 10-inch minimum.
- What if my car or truck has air bags?
You still need to buckle up. Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. Without a seat belt, you could be thrown into a rapidly opening frontal air bag, which could injure or even kill you and your unborn child. Also, if you’re not buckled up, you could collide with other passengers or be ejected from the vehicle.
- Should I turn the air bag off if my vehicle has an ON-OFF air-bag-disabling switch?
No. Doctors recommend that pregnant women wear seat belts and leave air bags turned on. Seat belts and air bags work together to provide the best protection
for you and your unborn child.
- What’s the right way to wear my seat belt?
The shoulder belt should lay across your chest
(between your breasts) and away from your neck.