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Mothers-to-be want more information on how best to wear seat belt

Mothers-to-be want more information on how best


to wear seat belt


Practically all women in Sweden wear their seat belts when they're pregnant. But they're not given information on exactly where to place the belt so as to best protect the unborn baby, and this worries them.


These are among the findings of recent research in the field of biomechanics at the University of Halmstad, Sweden.


The researchers gathered initial data from questionnaires completed by a sample of pregnant women and new mothers, then followed these up with interviews. One hundred and thirty-nine women completed the questionnaire. All but one of these said that they had always used a seat belt before their pregnancy.


Several women in the final stages of pregnancy said that they were now using their seat belts less. The reasons they gave were that the belt chafed, that they were afraid the baby might be affected, and that it was difficult to put on the belt. Almost half of the women in the late stages of pregnancy had experienced problems with the belt moving upwards onto the tummy instead of remaining across the hips.


In a similar study in the U.S., the majority of a sample of 200 said that wearing a seat belt was uncomfortable, that it chafed, and that it slipped upwards onto their tummies. Far more of the American women said they thought the belt caused discomfort. More of them also stopped using seat belts while pregnant.


The differences could well be a question of habit. In Sweden, wearing seat belts in the front car seats became compulsory in 1975. The equivalent American laws are rather more recent.




Results of two studies of user comfort -- Seat belts worn by pregnant women.


United States, 2000, Laura Thackray, sample: 200 women


Sweden 2002, Selime Eriskin and Sara Lund, sample: 139 women


Percentages of women reporting discomfort caused by...


belt chafing on lower abdomen: USA 65% Sweden 46%


belt chafing and pressing against abdomen: USA 62% Sweden 43%


belt too tight on breasts: USA 48% Sweden 10%


belt not long enough: USA 50% Sweden 7%


Percentages of women who sometimes decide not to use seat belt because of comfort problems: USA 13% Sweden 7%



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