Study shows pregnant women don't always know exactly where to place the belt to best protect their unborn baby.
Researchers at the University of Halmstad, in Sweden, gathered initial data from a sample of pregnant women and new mothers using questionnaires. The Biomechanical Engineers then followed up with interviews.
All but one of the 139 women surveyed 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: "the belt chafed;" "afraid the baby might be affected;" and, "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 United States the majority of the 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.
Far more of them also stopped using seat belts while pregnant. These differences could well be a question of habit.
In Sweden, wearing seat belts in the front car seats became compulsory in 1975. In the U.S. Safety were mandated by Federal law in 1973.
Comparative Studies USA and Sweden:
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%
United States - 2000, Laura Thackray sample: 200 women
Sweden - 2002, Selime Eriskin and Sara Lund sample: 139 women
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