Pregnant women have traditionally been on the lower end of the scale as far as seatbelt usage rates are concerned. That is because many women find it uncomfortable to wear conventional seatbelts which are designed for an adult body that does not have a baby growing inside of it. That could soon change. Researchers have developed a seatbelt model that is specifically designed to adapt to the body of a pregnant woman.
Scientists at the Loughborough University in England have developed what they call the “Seat Belt Plus.” This seatbelt was designed after 10 years of extensive study. The researchers collaborated with car experts and also worked together with as many as 100 pregnant women to design the prototype for the seatbelt. The seatbelt recently won a design award, and the researchers are waiting to begin mass production.
In their ground work leading up to the study, the researchers found that as many as 11% of women do not wear seatbelts correctly. Even those who wear seat belts find that the seatbelt shifts position during the journey. If this seatbelt is not worn properly or does not fit a pregnant woman properly, she may be at risk of serious injuries in an accident. There is also a high risk of fetal death attached to such accidents.
According to the University Of Michigan, as many as 200 fetal deaths every year could be prevented if pregnant women wore a seatbelt correctly.
No one expects an expectant woman to avoid driving while she is pregnant. An active, mobile expectant mother must be sure that she is safely restrained in the event of an accident. The new seatbelt claims to help ensure that.