How to Wear a Seat Belt During Pregnancy

Pregnant Woman in a Car Wearing a Seat Belt
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As your abdomen grows and expands, you may realize that it’s getting more uncomfortable being in the car – and that may be because of the seat belt. How should you wear your seat belt during pregnancy?

I’m pregnant, do I have to wear a seat belt?

Yes, yes, yes! It’s recommended by all doctors and is the single most effective action you can take to protect yourself and your baby in the event of a crash.

Seat Belt Do’s During Pregnancy

DO use the shoulder belt – it should rest away from your neck and not off your shoulder. It should fit across your chest (between the breasts) and should be free of any slack. Avoid reclining too much to prevent a gap between the seat belt and shoulder.

DO use the lap belt. Ensure it’s secured BELOW your belly and fits snugly across your hips and pelvic bone.

DO adjust your seat to allow as much distance between your belly and the steering wheel while driving.

If there is no shoulder harness, as in many backseats, adjust the seat belt to fit under your protruding abdomen and across your pelvis.

Seat Belt Don’ts During Pregnancy

DON’T place the shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back

DON’T place the lap belt on top of or above your belly. Sudden stops present an additional danger to your unborn child if the seat belt buckle rests on your abdomen.

DON’T allow any slack in the seat belt, this not only provides less protection, it may also cause additional injury in an accident.

DON’T drive or ride in a car without buckling up first!

Should I use a seat belt positioning device, pillow or extender?

No. These are not regulated by the government and there are no safety standards for such devices. There is a risk of endangering yourself and your child if these devices break, increase slack into the seat belt, are poorly designed, or prevent your seat belt from doing what it is supposed to.

Real world crash data show that shoulder + lap belts are effective at reducing injury to mom and baby without the use of third-party devices.

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  • https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/pregnant-seat-belt-use.pdf
  • https://thecarseatlady.com/pregnant/
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