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OPINION

Health and Wellness: Buckle the baby

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Public Health
Perry Chief

Pregnant moms generally are very careful to protect their unborn baby. However, it turns out that some moms skip buckling their seat belt in the last weeks of pregnancy, thinking that the seat belt may hurt the baby in case of an accident.

Unfortunately, this wrong thinking could cause serious injury or death to both mom and baby. A recent Maternal Mortality Review cited a statistic from the Iowa Department of Transportation showing that 18 percent of maternal deaths in Iowa were from motor vehicle crashes. Seventy percent of the pregnant women who died in a vehicle accident on Iowa roads were not wearing a seat belt. Even a minor accident during pregnancy could cause injury to mom and baby if mom is thrown forward or sideways.

There is a pictograph available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showing the right and wrong ways to use a seat belt during later stages of pregnancy. Go to https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/pregnant-seat-belt-use.pdf for this useful and easy to follow information.

Another important message to pregnant women is to drive defensively to prevent situations that lead to accidents. Put down the phone. Tell your other children you must pay attention while driving. Buckle up.