Car Safety for Pregnant Women

Car Safety for Pregnant Women

Ensuring the safety of both you and your baby/child is of the utmost importance, especially when traveling by car. The most effective way to achieve this is to ensure that everyone is properly restrained using seat belts and appropriate car seats.

During pregnancy, although your baby is somewhat protected within your body, it’s crucial to wear a lap and shoulder belt at all times to optimize safety in the event of a car crash. Position the shoulder portion of the belt between your breasts and over the middle of your collar bone, while the lap portion should fit snugly below your belly, across the hips, and pelvic bone.

In all 50 states, laws mandate that infants and children of various ages be secured in the appropriate safety seat. These seats include:

Rear-Facing                    

Rear-facing seats are ideal for infants up to 12 months old. It’s recommended that children also use the seats from the ages of 1-3 years. For optimal safety, keep your child in a rear-facing position for as long as possible. Follow the guidelines provided by your car seat’s manufacturer, and continue using a rear-facing car seat until your child reaches the maximum height or weight limit specified. When your child exceeds these limits, they are ready to transition to a forward-facing car seat equipped with a harness and tether.

Forward-Facing           

It is recommended that children use forward-facing seats from the ages of 4-7 years. Continue to use a forward-facing car seat with a harness and tether until your child reaches the maximum height or weight limit set by the car seat manufacturer. Upon surpassing these limits, transition your child to a booster seat, ensuring they remain in the back seat for added safety.

Booster Seat              

The recommend age is 8-12 years. Continue using a booster seat for your child until they are sufficiently large to fit in a seat belt correctly. Proper seat belt fit means the lap belt rests snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach, while the shoulder belt lies securely across the shoulder and chest, avoiding the neck or face. Remember to keep your child in the back seat, as it offers greater safety.

To ensure you select the right car seat and install it correctly, visit www.dps.mn.gov. This website provides detailed and helpful guidance. Additionally, check with your insurance provider, as some coverage may be offered when purchasing a car seat.

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