Safe Ride 4 Kids Sets Mission to Save Lives of Babies by Helping Expecting Mothers Keep Their Babies Safer While Driving with the Tummy Shield™, Baby’s First Car Seat
A new Kickstarter campaign called “Love the Babies” by Safe Ride 4 Kids will help fund the creation of a video to educate pregnant women’s caregivers about safe driving during pregnancy. Part of the project is the distribution of the video and supporting materials to the roughly 46,000 OB/Gyns, and 11,000 midwives in the United States.
The goal is to increase the conversation between caregivers and expecting moms about the risks and the things they can do make driving as safe as possible. Studies show that only 27% of pregnant women have any sort of conversation about driving with their OBs.
Meanwhile there are an estimated 3,000 pregnancies lost every year in the U.S. because of car crashes.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that auto accidents are the single largest cause of death for pregnant women. Even when you think you are doing everything right, there is still a risk. Some of that risk, ironically, comes from the seat belt itself.
Many pregnant women find wearing the seat belt uncomfortable enough to not wear one at all, this increases their risk of injury or death to themselves and their baby. While it is three times safer for a pregnant women to use a seat belt than to not use one, the very thing that is designed to hold her in the car and keep her from hitting the interior of the vehicle poses a risk to her and the pregnancy.
The current seat belt configuration is designed to engage the hip bones to keep the occupant in the seat during a crash. The challenge is the pregnancy is often forward of the hip bones so the seat belt has to compress into the pregnancy to engage the hip bones and restrain the occupant.
“We really do need to get more information and to design vehicles better for this special population,” Dr. Melissa Schiff, an obstetrician and epidemiologist at the University of Washington’s Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, who has done several studies on motor-vehicle crashes and pregnancy told NBC News in 2009. “It just really flies under the radar — people focus so much on infants and booster seats.”
The 2009 NBC News report said researchers and car manufacturers were shifting focus from infants and children in car safety and booster seats to how to prevent fetal deaths in the event of a car accident. Five years later the best advice for driving while pregnant remains the same as it has for 50 + yrs, “wear the seat belt properly placed low across the hips and pelvis and have the shoulder portion across the chest”.
The majority of fetal deaths occur when the force of the crash tears the placenta from the uterus, which cuts off oxygen to the fetus. This is called placenta abruption.
The company, Safe Ride 4 Kids, is the same that brings the Tummy Shield to the U.S. The Tummy Shield is a crash tested seat belt positioning device for pregnant women to sit on in the car. It creates an anchor point between the women’s legs pull the lap portion of the seat belt into, creating a leg harness and moving the seat belt off of the pregnant belly. The goal of the product is twofold. One to make wearing the seat belt more comfortable so that pregnant women will be more likely to wear it. Two is that in the event of a crash the seat belt will restrain the woman via her upper thighs instead of compressing into her pregnant belly to catch the hip bones.