Yay! You’re pregnant!
You are so in love with your baby… Already!
In a word, YES. More than 170,000 pregnant women are involved in car accidents every year, resulting in thousands of lost pregnancies or injuries to the baby. Some of the injuries can cause pregnancy complications which can be life-threatening to the mom-to-be. You see, the existing seat belt system was not designed or tested to protect women who are driving while pregnant; in fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the current seat belt system exposes an inherent risk for injury, or even death, to an unborn baby.
This is because the standard seat belt is designed to secure an occupant in the car seat by engaging the hip bones. However, beginning at the start of the second trimester, your unborn baby moves above and in front of your hip bones—directly beneath the seat belt. When engaged by an accident, or even a sudden stop, the belt compresses with extreme speed and force, violently displacing and even crushing your unborn baby.
Is it safe to use a seat belt during pregnancy?
Yes. It's dangerous not to. Research has repeatedly shown that the best way to protect your growing baby is to protect yourself by wearing a properly positioned safety belt every time you're in a car or truck.
To avoid injuring yourself and your baby, the seat belt must be properly fastened. The seat belt should be a three-point restraint (that means it should have a lap strap and a shoulder strap).
Secure the lap belt under your belly, low and snug on your hipbones. Never wear the belt across or above your belly. During a crash, the sudden jolt from a belt in this position could cause the placenta to tear away from the uterus or cause other injuries.
If you're wearing a winter coat or heavy sweater that makes the seat belt slide up on your belly, consider removing your outerwear once it's warm inside the car.
Always use the shoulder belt, too, which should fit snugly between your breasts and off to the side of your belly. If the shoulder belt cuts across your neck, reposition your seat or the belt so it fits better. Do not place the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back.
There are now seat belt positioning devices being sold for use in pregnancy, but I would warn against their use. There are no safety standards for any of these devices, and—by respositioning the seat belt or how it functions—they may put you in an unsafe situation in the event of a crash.
Air bags offer additional protection. However, air bags do not replace the need to wear your seat belt. (In fact, an air bag can be dangerous if it opens and you're not securely buckled up.)
When you're driving, adjust the front seat so it's as far away as possible from the steering wheel and dashboard while still allowing you to reach the pedals comfortably. If your steering wheel is adjustable, aim it up and away from your stomach. That way, the air bag will deploy toward your chest, not your belly.
Whether or not you're pregnant, the safest place for you to sit as a passenger is in the back seat. Where a mother sits has not been shown to affect the safety of an unborn baby in a crash, but injuries from car crashes tend to be less serious to people who are sitting in the back seat. Again, buckle up in a three-point belt.
By the way, if you're in a car accident – even a minor one – see your healthcare provider as soon as possible after the crash. Although you may feel just fine, it's important to make sure both you and your baby are unharmed.
BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.
ACOG. 2016. Car safety for pregnant women, babies, and children. FAQ. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Car-Safety-for-Pregnant-Women-Babies-and-Children [Accessed June 2016]
Draheim, TE, et al. 2015. Seatbelt safety in pregnancy: the beliefs and knowledge of pregnant women. BJOG 0 An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; 373. http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:366656 [Accessed June 2016]
Vladutiu CJ, et al. 2013. Adverse pregnancy outcomes following motor vehicle crashes among pregnant drivers. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 45 (5). http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(13)00447-9/abstract [Accessed June 2016]
Vladutiu, CJ, et al. 2011. Motor vehicle safety during pregnancy. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. November/December, 2011. http://ajl.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/10/13/1559827611421304 [Accessed June 2016]
Aditya Belwadi, PhD
Aditya Belwadi is a research scientist at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
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Review of Tummy Shield: Pregnancy Car Seat Belt Positioner
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Purchase the Tummy Shield on Amazon
While I’ve not carried a child in my womb, many of my close friends and coworkers have; the majority of them have confessed that they gave little thought to how driving a car changes when pregnant. That unintentional disregard is apparently common across the entire nation.
Because standard vehicle seatbelts are not designed for pregnant women–who have different sensitive areas than the average driver–traffic collisions pose a serious threat to them and their unborn children. A revolutionary new product called Tummy Shield is the only one of its kind, developed to protect unborn children by diverting the seatbelt from across the mother’s waist.
Review of Tummy Shield, the Pregnancy Seat Belt Positioner
USA Distributor:Safe Ride 4 Kids
Size:17 x 18 inches
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The patented Tummy Shield was invented in Australia and has been imported to the USA by Safe Ride 4 Kids, a company founded by a former paramedic and Child Passenger Safety Technician. The product–a high-strength cushion with a heavy steel hook–secures the waistline seatbelt at the legs rather than the belly, thus eliminating pressure on the abdomen and reducing the chance of harm to the child.
Tummy Shield has earned multiple awards, including the 2016 Gold Award in the Mom’s Choice Awards and BabyMaternity Magazine’s Top Choice Award (2014). It’s even Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA).
The cushion can also help with other physical conditions involving gastric bypass, the gall bladder, hysterectomy, hernias, and post-delivery pain.
Tummy Shield arrives in a flat, square slipcase box with pictures and instructions printed all over it. Considering the eight-pound weight of the product, the box is sturdy enough to transport the Tummy Shield and function as a storage case in between pregnancies/uses.
The high tensile stainless steel anchor is wrapped in a firm foam cushion and combination grey/brown fabric. The cushion itself is firm but soft to the touch, not lumpy or rough to sit upon. It does not sink under body weight or shift around like other cushions or seat covers do, thanks to the securing belt. For most users, the placement of the hook is in the ideal spot, between the legs without riding up.
The Tummy Shield should withstand the force of the belt being yanked in an accident, as that’s a defining factor of the product. While we didn’t test that, the company claims that hundreds of successful crash tests prove the Tummy Shield complies with safety standards.
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Instructions & Learning to Use Product
Installation of the Tummy Shield is quite easy.
- Place the Tummy Shield on the car seat—either the driver or front passenger—and wrap the attached belt around the seat, buckling it in the back.
- Add the Velcro-adhered extender cushion if you need more space between your groin and the steel hook.
- Thread the lower strap of the seatbelt through the anchor and buckle the latch as normal.
- You can leave the Tummy Shield in the car between uses.
Step-by-step instructions are printed both on the packaging box and an over-sized fabric tag on the cushion itself. The directions include pictures and clarifications of improper installation. After you install it once, you likely won’t need to read them again, but it’s nice that they’re permanently attached if you ever gift it or sell it.
Overall Assessment: Does It Do What It Claims?
Admittedly, I might not be the ideal candidate or intended customer for this product, so I lent the Tummy Shield to multiple coworkers at different sizes and stages of pregnancy. Gathering their varying reactions to the product and using it, I’ve made the general assessment that while the Tummy Shield is an important safety product, certain factors will impact each user’s experience differently.
- Height: It takes time for users to adjust to the change in perspective sitting up higher, and that extra inch might be enough for your head to hit the ceiling.
- Climate: If the weather is cold, the steel anchor will feel extremely cold to the touch, even through pants. Also, it blocks the heated seat warmers from reaching your bum.
- Body Shape: If you’re excessively overweight or are unable to spread your legs, there may not be enough room for the anchor to work.
- Car Seat: The Tummy Shield only works in the front seats, not in the back seats or such bench seating. Also, it’s a neutral colored fabric, so it does not match colorful or leather seats.
- Seatbelt Length: Because the Tummy Shield unwinds the seatbelt further than usual, it has a tendency to lock up, restricting movement and mobility.
- Clothing: The positioning of the seatbelt through the legs makes it difficult to wear a long dress and use the product.
If you’re unsure about how some of these factors may apply to or impact you, the Tummy Shield offers a money-back guarantee with risk-free trial if purchased through the manufacturer’s website.
Few products on today’s market are built on safety needs rather than comfort or convenience. It’s hard to convince drivers to follow preventative safety measures like wearing seatbelts at all, and paying even more for a product you’ll use for less than a year isn’t easy.
A product like Tummy Shield might not strike you as necessary–after all, you could simply tuck the seatbelt under your round belly. While that’s a fine solution for the 99% of the time when you’re safely driving, one accident could change everything. Were something tragic to happen, it would be too late.
The Tummy Shield is a noble and important invention that isn’t just a “car gadget” but brilliantly reworks the seatbelt to make it safer and more secure for pregnant mothers and their unborn children. Granted, it’s a short purchase for a lot of money, but so is 90% of what you buy for your baby.
The one recurring issue was the seatbelt’s tendency to lock up from being over-extended, and it’s a real pain to unbuckle, unwrap, and rebuckle when it happens. I would recommend investing in a seatbelt extender if you desire a bit more flexibility and movement while buckled.
Tummy Shield is available in the USA through Safe Ride 4 Kids on its website and through Amazon.
Product provided for review by distributor.
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo (which recently replaced his 1995 Saturn SC-2). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.
I felt with my tongue a pea of erect clitoris. Irinka shuddered and sighed loudly. I began to work her clitoris, stroking her tummy, chest, thighs with my hands.
Seat belly belt shield
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I took advantage of the minute and immediately vomited everything into the hole, almost splashing the guy's sneakers. - On, rinse your mouth, waffle, - the guy pulled out a plastic bottle from his jacket and handed it to me. I straightened with difficulty.
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