Belt up below the bump
Queensland Health data shows many pregnant women in Queensland are not wearing their seat belts correctly, or are scared to wear them altogether.
Queensland Health Clinical Excellence Division Medical Lead Associate Professor Rebecca Kimble said more work needed to be done to educate Queensland mothers-to-be on seatbelt safety, which was why Queensland Health was rolling out a state-wide social media campaign to spread the message.
“A preliminary survey of pregnant women in Queensland showed that around 42 per cent believe wearing a seat belt could cause harm to them or their baby if they were in an accident,” Professor Kimble said.
“Because of this false belief, women aren’t wearing their seat belts correctly, or choosing not to wear them at all – which could have serious or devastating implications.
“Some women also find wearing a seatbelt uncomfortable, particularly in the later stage of pregnancy, so understanding how to wear it properly is not only about safety but also comfort.
“With every kilometre per hour increase in speed, the risk of injury to a mother and their unborn baby increases exponentially without a properly used three point seatbelt restraint,” she said.
“This risk is reduced even further when the seatbelt is worn correctly.
“The safest and most comfortable way to correctly wear a seatbelt is with the lap belt ‘below the bump’ over the lap, and the sash between the breasts and over, not across, the pregnant uterus.
“It’s a really simple message and is incredibly important for pregnant women to hear, which is why we are rolling out a social media campaign to spread the message.”
Assistant Commissioner of the Road Policing Command Mike Keating said failing to wear a seatbelt continued to be a significant contributor towards the Queensland road toll.
“Crashes are largely preventable and putting on a seat belt should be second nature, as it is designed to protect the body from moving forward in the event of a crash,” Assistant Commissioner Keating said.
“It is the responsibility of both drivers and passengers to make sure seat belts are always worn. If not, the penalty is a $378 fine and a loss of three demerit point.”
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