Pregnancy buckle up

Some pregnant women wonder if they should buckle up during pregnancy - even when they are far along in their term. The answer is a definite yes. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for pregnant women and the leading cause of trauma-related hospital stays during pregnancy in the U.S. Buckling up is the best way for mom to prevent injury and death from a motor vehicle accident.

The hard facts

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.

Top tips

  • According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), lap belts, as well as the lap portion of a lap-shoulder belt combination, should be placed low across the hips and over the upper thighs. They must lie snugly over the pelvis, one of the stronger bones of the body. Never place the belt over the abdomen. Adjust the shoulder belt for a snug fit. If it cuts across your neck, reposition your car seat for a better fit.
  • 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 you or worse.
  • When driving, move the seat back as far as possible but make sure you can reach the pedals comfortably. Try to keep at least 10 inches between the center of your check and the steering wheel for the duration of your pregnancy.
  • As a passenger, if possible, sit in the back seat. It is safer there. If sitting in the front seat, move the seat back as far as possible. No matter where you are sitting, always wear a seat belt to protect yourself and your baby.

Learn more

To learn more about pregnancy and new baby safety, check out our literature below:

New Baby Checklist (PDF, 328 KB) 
Used Car Seats are Not Always the Best Deal (PDF, 215 KB) 

Page last updated: 12/29/2015 4:00:05 PM