Pregnancy and Occupant Protection

If you are pregnant and riding in front of an air bag, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that your breast bone be at least 10 inches away from the dashboard or steering wheel and that you continue to move the seat back as your abdomen grows.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association recommend that pregnant women wear properly positioned seat belts.  Pregnant women should always use a lap/shoulder seat belt restraint.  This system provides maximum protection for expectant mothers and their unborn children.

The key words to remember for proper positioning of a seat belt during pregnancy are: between and below.  The shoulder portion of the safety belt should be positioned between the breasts and the lap belt should be positioned across the upper thighs, below the uterus and therefore, under the baby.

If you have questions about seat belt usage or air bags while you are pregnant, ask your doctor, or call 1-800-KID-N-CAR.  If you drive, check with your doctor to find out about any driving restrictions.

Air bags and pregnancy

If you are pregnant and riding in front of an air bag, NHTSA recommends that your breast bone be at least 10 inches away from the dashboard or steering wheel and that you continue to move the seat back as your abdomen grows.

Remember to wear your seat belt since air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not in place of them.  Seat belts and air bags work together to protect you and your unborn child in a crash.

Preparing for the hospital

When you pack for the hospital, make sure to include:

  • A child safety seat that conforms to federal motor vehicle safety standard 213 and that will fit your newborn

  • Receiving blankets, which can be rolled lengthwise and placed on both sides of your newborn to keep your baby centered in the child safety seat

  • Clothing for your baby that allows the child safety seat harness to go between the baby’s legs and allows the harness to fit the baby’s body securely

    Avoid child safety seat accessories such as:

  • Child safety seat liners or pads that do not come with the child safety seat.  These can compress during a crash, causing the harness to loosen, which may cause the baby to be thrown out of the seat.

  • Toys or trays that attach to a child safety seat.  These can hit a baby during a crash.

Be ready for your new baby’s first ride home by making sure your child safety seat is installed properly.  For detailed directions, thoroughly read the instructions for the child safety seat and the owner’s manual for your vehicle.  You can also make an appointment with a child passenger safety technician at a child safety seat inspection station for installation help.  Click here for a list of child safety seat inspection stations in Indiana.