How to Buckle Up During Pregnancy
Safe Seating and Air Bags
As your baby—and belly—grow, you’ll find you need to adjust your seat for comfort and safety when in your vehicle. The NHTSA recommends that pregnant women move the front seat back as far as possible.
“Your breastbone should be at least ten inches from the steering wheel or dashboard,” recommends the NHTSA. “As your abdomen grows during pregnancy, move the seat back to keep as much distance as possible” while still allowing the driver to safely reach the pedals.
Some vehicles are equipped with an air bag switch, and you may have wondered whether you should disable your car’s air bag during pregnancy. The easy answer is no. Doctors recommend that pregnant women wear seat belts and leave the air bag switch on, since they work together to protect both the pregnant woman and her fetus in a crash. The NHTSA stresses that air bags are not a substitute for wearing a seat belt: “Air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. Without a seat belt, a pregnant woman can be thrown into a rapidly opening air bag—a movement of such force could injure or even kill the mother and her unborn child.”
If you are involved in an accident, even a minor one, see your healthcare provider immediately. Even if you feel you suffered no injuries, you’ll want to be absolutely sure that both you and your baby are OK. Take comfort in knowing that your baby is cushioned by the amniotic fluid-filled sac inside your uterus, which is protected by your own muscles, bones, and organs.
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