The experts have spoken: Pregnant mamas need to both wear seat belts and leave the air bag switch on --...
pregnancy-car-airbagsThe experts have spoken: Pregnant mamas need to both wear seat belts and leave the air bag switch on -- that's because the two systems work together to protect both you and your unborn baby in the event of a crash. But because deployed air bags have been proven very dangerous to babies and kids -- which is why you never ever put a carseat in the front seat -- there's been concern that airbags might also injure unborn children, noted University of Washington researchers. The Washington study (reported in Obstetrics & Gynecology during December 2009) found, however, "that pregnant occupants of motor vehicles with air bags were not at increased risk for pregnancy complications," such as cesarean delivery, fetal distress and/or pre-term birth, said Dr Melissa Schiff, lead author and professor of epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health and a researcher at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

The best odds

The NHTSA wants to remind one and all that air bags are designed to work with seat belts, not replace them. Without a seat belt, you can be thrown into a rapidly-opening air bag, and a movement of such force could injure either or both of you -- or even be deadly. "Since we know that an air bag deployed in a serious car crash can save your life, it would be unwise to avoid air bags and a theoretical risk of a minor complication," said Nathan S Fox, MD, a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist and an Assistant Clinical Professor at both Mount Sinai School of Medicine and New York University School of Medicine. So even if there is a tiny degree of risk, it's better than the alternative, right? Dr Fox says yes. "Since we know that flying through a windshield is bad for both the mother and the baby, I would encourage people to have air bags."

Find out more

How to wear a seatbelt during pregnancy Car seat safety facts and state laws Top 10 car seat safety tips New guidelines for preterm baby car seats

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