In many cases we at Stillman and Friedland see pregnant women injured, yet unable to undergo testing, (mri, ct, xray) due to being pregnant. They have to suffer without the benefit of medications for pain.
Obviously, the use of seatbelts and airbags has saved lives when bad accidents occur. In terms of mortality for moms, the rates have gone down since the use of restraints was initiated. While the use of restraints has saved lives, compliance today is not 100%. In the case of fatalities, the NHTSA reports indicate that in approximately 50% of fatalities, restraints were not used.
So, on the one hand, safety devices save mothers’ lives. On the other hand, the sudden impact of an inflating airbag is potentially dangerous and causes injuries.
Driving securely is your priority. Here are the basic options you can choose to minimize injury to yourself and your baby.
- The first basic is for you to drive safely. Our top tip is to keep off your cellphone while driving. As we have said numerous times in these blogs, distracted driving is one of the biggest dangers on the roads.
- Obviously, only drive if you are alert and sober.
- Every safety device must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Seat belts must go under “the bump” to minimize potential impact to the baby.
Use of airbags: A Debate
As we noted, all devices must be used according to manufacturers’ instructions, and this is especially true with airbags. While airbags can be a lifesaver, incorrect use can be dangerous. When are airbags dangerous?
- When you are too close to the point of deployment, whether in the steering wheel or in front of the passenger in the dashboard area.
- When you do not use a seatbelt—airbags are a supplement to seatbelts.
- The safe distance for airbag impact is 10” for all passengers.
- This means that as your bump grows, you must adjust your seat and/or steering wheel accordingly.
- If you cannot distance yourself from the airbag sufficiently, consider your options.
According to the BUMP:
“For safe air bag usage, the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends pregnant women adjust the steering wheel at least 10 inches away from your breastbone. If you don’t have enough space between you and the wheel and your bump is getting too big, you can actually cause more injury to your ribs and belly in an accident. If your steering wheel can be tilted, make sure it’s angled toward your breastbone and not towards your belly or head.”
Some other points to consider:
- If you have had a recall notice, but have not replaced possibly defective bags, get it done!
- When you are too short—if you are under 4’9” tall—you are at risk whether or not you are expecting.
In the event that you and your baby suffer injuries, you need to consider that the long-term effects of such an injury may not be immediately obvious. In cases like these a competent attorney will evaluate both your immediate and long-term needs and prosecute your case accordingly. Only a professional with years of experience can help you by managing your case to suit your needs, and get you the compensation you deserve.
Because we care…