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NEW RESEARCH From Clippasafe

Nearly half of pregnant women put their unborn babies at risk due to wearing seat belts incorrectly

1st May - New research commissioned by UK child safety experts Clippasafe has shown that pregnant women are putting their safety and that of their unborn babies at risk, by wearing seat belts incorrectly or by not wearing them at all.

The in-depth survey on car safety during pregnancy was completed by 500 mothers of various ages with children aged 15 or younger. The research established that 80% found wearing a seatbelt uncomfortable during pregnancy, with almost 20% of women admitting to not wearing one at all.

Despite 92% of the same women surveyed showing an understanding of rear facing baby seat safety and the dangers of airbags, there was obvious confusion over seat belt safety during pregnancy. 

Foetal injury or miscarriage are common when pregnant women are involved in even minor vehicle collisions. Official NHS guidance tells women to position the lap portion of the seat belt under the bump, however almost half of women are unaware of this advice and don’t realise the danger that an incorrectly positioned seat belt poses to an unborn child, even in the event of a minor car accident.

Dr. Karen Joash is a Consultant Obstetrician who works with patients at the Imperial College NHS Trust and also provides private maternity care at the Portland Hospital and the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital, where many Royal babies, including the newest arrival His Royal Highness Prince Louis, have been delivered.

She explained the dangers of incorrectly positioned seat belts during pregnancy: “It can lead to a deceleration injury where the strap has contact. This is similar to being struck across the bump with extreme force and pressure. Major injuries can lead to the waters breaking too early.”

She went on: “It can also result in placental injuries leading to bleeding and early placental separation, reducing the oxygen supply and in extreme injuries - unfortunately the death of the unborn baby.”

Combined with research undertaken by the University of Toronto in 2014, the survey results paint a worrying picture. The research, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, studied 500,000 pregnancies in the Ontario area over a five year period and showed that female drivers in their second trimester of pregnancy are 42% more likely to be involved in a multi vehicle collision. The research suggests the increase could be due to cognitive lapses that occur during pregnancy as well as fatigue, sleep deprivation and nausea.

Roger Cheetham, Managing Director of Clippasafe, commissioned the seat belt research to understand the attitudes of pregnant women towards car safety and to find out if they are aware of seat belt risks and how to reduce them. He stressed that the dangers shouldn’t put women off wearing a seat belt.

“This is about empowering women with the knowledge of how to keep themselves and their unborn babies safe. Seat belts are not inherently dangerous during pregnancy, as long as they are worn correctly. They must be kept below the bump so that any shock from a collision can be absorbed by the hips.”

Dr. Joash also advised expectant mothers to take seat belt wear seriously and look for ways to make the belt more comfortable and reduce the danger to unborn babies by keeping it in the right place. “Minor road traffic accidents are not uncommon, in these cases maternal musculoskeletal injuries are often seen. A seat belt should be worn at all times but mums-to-be must find other ways to wear the seatbelt more comfortably and not across the bump.”

There are products available to address the issue and ensure that seat belts are kept in the right position. They can be purchased from many department and parenting stores and also online. They vary in cost, but most are easy to use and feature a pad to sit on with fabric loops that wrap and secure around the lap strap, keeping it in place. They are designed to last through several pregnancies.

Mr. Cheetham of Clippasafe continued: “We want to ensure that women are aware of the simple solutions that could avoid a very dangerous and heartbreaking situation. We want to work with medical professionals to bring this issue to light and give women the opportunity to prevent a possible tragedy from happening.”

Clippasafe’s independent research into seat belt wear during pregnancy was commissioned in September 2017 and carried out by Survey Mechanics, a UK based research company. This is the first publication of the findings. 500 women in the UK with children under the age of 15 years old were surveyed and asked to answer questions about their own seat belt wear during pregnancy.

The key findings are below:

       80.49% of the women, when asked whether they found it uncomfortable to wear a seat belt during pregnancy either answered ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’.

       19.35% of the women, when asked if they ever chose not to wear a seat belt at all during pregnancy, due to discomfort, said yes.

       45.9% of the women, when asked whether they knew of the correct way to wear a seat belt whilst pregnant, said no.

Clippasafe is a family-run business specialising in the manufacturing of child safety products. The company was founded as a Limited Company in 1958 by Gordon Cheetham, who produced a range of child safety harnesses. Fifty years on, Clippasafe remains a family-run business with a solid foundation. The company produces a wide range of innovative child safety products which are supplied to major nursery retailers and department stores throughout the UK and sold direct to parents through their popular online shop.

Clippasafe plays an important role in designing products and solutions to overcome the many dangers that children encounter in everyday environments. As a reliable partner, Clippasafe provides parents and carers with the essential tools to educate them on the potential hazards that can be found both inside and outside the home and how to minimise them.

 

More information can be found here: www.clippasafe.co.uk

 

 



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