Seatbelt safety during pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, wearing your seatbelt properly could be a lifesaver for both you and your baby. Everyone, including pregnant women, should wear a seatbelt when riding in a car.

Being in a car accident can increase your risk for serious complications during pregnancy. Wearing your seatbelt correctly can help protect you and your baby from injury. Wear your seatbelt all throughout your pregnancy any time you ride in a car – and wear one no matter where you sit in the car.

Here’s the right way to wear a seatbelt during pregnancy:

  • Always wear both the lap belt and the shoulder strap. Make sure they both fit you snugly.
  • Buckle the lap belt under your belly and across your hips. Never place the lap belt across your belly.
  • Put the shoulder strap between your breasts and off to the side of your belly. Never place the shoulder strap under your arm or behind your back.
  • If it adjusts, fix the length of the shoulder strap to fit you correctly.

What should you do if your car has airbags?

If your car has airbags, follow these tips:

  • Don’t turn them off. Seatbelts and air bags work together to provide the best protection for you and your baby.
  • Try to keep 10 inches between the steering wheel and your breastbone by moving your seat back. You may need to move your seat back farther as your belly grows. Just make sure you can still reach the foot pedals.
  • If your car has a steering wheel that can tilt, angle it toward your breastbone and not toward your belly or head.

What are some other ways to help you stay safe when driving?

Here are some tips for safe driving during pregnancy:

  • Avoid distracted driving. Distracted driving is doing something that takes your hands off the steering wheel or your eyes or mind off the road. For example, don’t make phone calls, text or eat while driving.
  • On longer trips, try to limit driving to no more than 5 to 6 hours per day. Stop every few hours to stretch.

If you’re in a car accident, get medical treatment quickly to make sure you and your baby are OK. If you have contractions, pain in your belly or blood or fluid leaking from your vagina, call your health care provider right away.

To learn more about car safety during pregnancy, visit