We all know that seat belts and airbags are essential to the safety of automobile drivers and passengers — but what if the driver or passenger is pregnant?

If you’re in the late stages of pregnancy, you may be feeling some discomfort and uncertainty while fastening your seat belt. You may even be questioning whether a seat belt and airbag could somehow cause your unborn child harm in an accident. Don’t worry! If used correctly, seat belts and airbags significantly lower the chances of injury in a car accident for everyone — including pregnant women.

However, it is important for pregnant women to adhere to the following best practices to stay safe in the event of an accident:

  • Wear the seat belt in a lap and shoulder belt combination
  • Place the lap belt below your belly, touching your thighs and sitting low on your hips
  • Place the shoulder belt across the center of your shoulder and chest
  • Keep your chest at a safe distance from the dashboard and steering wheel (at least 10 inches)

There are a couple of ways to wear a seat belt that should be avoided during pregnancy. The lap belt should never be placed above or across your belly. Also, avoid placing the shoulder belt beneath your arm or behind your back.

If you are driving while pregnant, take extra precautions to stay safe, such as minimizing distractions, coming to complete stops slowly, following the speed limits and signaling turns.

Injuries caused in auto accidents can have a catastrophic impact on the physical and mental development of an unborn child. If you are involved in an auto accident while pregnant, seek medical attention immediately. Afterword, contacting a skilled personal injury attorney can help you determine your legal options.