Your Baby

Fussy Baby: Walking or Rocking Most Calming?

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When your baby cries should you pick him or her up and walk or find a good rocking chair and rock back and forth? A new study from Japan says that infants respond best when mom (or any caregiver) picks them up and walks around.

Researchers said that the babies’ rapidly beating hearts also slowed down, proving that they felt calmer.

"Infants become calm and relaxed when they are carried by their mother” said study researcher Dr. Kumi Kuroda, who investigates social behavior at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Saitama, Japan. Interestingly, the study also observed the same response in baby mice.

For the study, researchers monitored the responses of 12 healthy infants ages 1 month to 6 months. The scientists wanted to discover the most effective way for mothers to calm a crying baby over a 30-second period — simply holding the baby or carrying the infant while walking.

Results showed that infants carried by walking mothers were the most relaxed and soothed compared to babies whose mothers sat in a chair and held them. As a mother stood up with her cradled her baby and started to walk, scientists observed an automatic change in the baby’s behavior.  

These results held even after the researchers took into account other factors, such as the child's age and sex, and the mother's age and walking speed.

Kuroda said she was surprised by the strength of the calming effect. Researchers noted that the rhythm of walking might be more effective in soothing infants than any other rhythmic motion, including rocking.

Babies cry for a variety of reasons. If an infant is hungry or in pain, they’ll most likely start crying again when they are laid back down. But sometimes a baby just feels a little anxious or unsure about their environment and will relax when held close and comforted. Kuroda acknowledged carrying might not completely stop the crying, but it may prevent parents from becoming frustrated by a crying infant.

The findings may also have implications for the parenting technique of letting babies cry in order to help them learn how to “soothe themselves”.

"Our study suggests why some babies do not respond well to the 'cry-it-out' parenting method," Kuroda said.

Babies crying during separation and maternal carrying are both built-in mechanisms for infant survival. These behaviors have been hard-wired for millions of years. "Changing these reactions would be possible as infants are flexible, but it may take time," she said.

While the study looked at a baby’s response to its mother, Kudro said the calming effect was not specific to moms. Dads, grandparents and caregivers were able to provide the same calming effect by carrying the baby and walking

Many moms and dads instinctively know to pick up a baby that’s crying, hold them close, pace around while gently patting baby on the back. This study just points out that if your baby is really upset, walking about may have a faster calming effect than rocking or sitting in a chair.  Plus it adds more evidence that simply ignoring a baby while he or she cries isn’t going to teach them how to soothe themselves. We all need a hug and a gentle pat on the back when we’re upset. Babies need it maybe even a little more.

The study was published online in the journal Current Biology.

Source: Carl Nierenberg, http://www.today.com/moms/carry-study-finds-its-good-

Your Baby

Longer Breast-Feeding Time, Less Childhood Obesity

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A new study looks at the duration of breast-feeding and babies who are high risk for obesity, as they get older. Researchers found that the longer mothers breast –fed these higher risk babies, the less likely the babies were to become overweight later.

"Breast-feeding for longer durations appears to have a protective effect against the early signs of overweight and obesity," said lead researcher Stacy Carling, a doctoral candidate in nutrition at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y.

Carling and her colleagues followed 595 children from birth to the age of 2. They tracked the children's weight and length over this time, and compared individual children's growth trajectories to how long the children breast-fed.

Which children are considered at high risk for extra weight gain? Researchers found that babies whose mothers were overweight or obese, mothers with lower education levels and mothers who smoked during pregnancy were more likely to have overweight children. Almost 59 percent of the children at risk for being overweight had mothers with one or more of these characteristics, compared to about 43 percent of the children not at risk for excessive weight gain.

Higher-risk babies who breast-fed for less than two months were more than twice as likely to gain extra weight than those who breast-fed for at least four months.

Although the study didn’t prove that longer breast-feeding actually reduced risk for obesity, it did provide several reasons why the link between the two may exist.

"Breast-feeding an infant may allow proper development of hunger and satiety signals, as well as help prevent some of the behaviors that lead to overweight and obesity," Carling said.

"Breast-feeding, especially on demand, versus on schedule, allows an infant to feed when he or she is hungry, thereby fostering an early development of appetite control," she said. "When a baby breast-feeds, she can control how much milk she gets and how often, naturally responding to internal signals of hunger and satiation."

The study did not include information on whether the babies were exclusively breast-fed or how often they were getting milk at the breast versus from a bottle, but the time required to reduce obesity risk was not long.

"The difference of two months of breast-feeding may be enough to reap some benefit," Carling said.

There are many reasons mothers choose to breast-feed for shorter periods, and some mothers are not able to breast-feed at all. For mothers that choose to breast-feed, Carling believes they need to be supported on many levels.

"Ultimately, increasing breast-feeding rates in the United States means increasing knowledge and support at a variety of levels from institutional to interpersonal," Carling said. "Our study recognizes the benefit of longer duration breast-feeding in a specific population and, hopefully, this and other studies will lead to more customized breast-feeding promotion in those populations at higher risk for overweight and obesity."

The findings were published in the January print issue of Pediatrics, and funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

Source: Tara Haelle, http://consumer.healthday.com/women-s-health-information-34/breast-feeding-news-82/breast-feeding-for-longer-may-protect-infants-at-risk-for-obesity-694218.html

Your Baby

223,000 Peg Perego Strollers Recalled

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Peg Perego USA Inc., of Fort Wayne, Ind., is announcing a voluntary recall of about 223,000 strollers due to a risk of entrapment and strangulation.

A 6-month-old baby boy from Tarzana, Calif. died of strangulation after his head was trapped between the seat and the tray of his Peg Perego stroller in 2004. Another baby, a 7-month-old girl from New York, N.Y., nearly strangled when her head became trapped between the seat and the tray of her stroller in 2006.

Entrapment and strangulation can occur, especially to infants younger than 12 months of age, when a child is not harnessed. An infant can pass through the opening between the stroller tray and seat bottom, but his/her head and neck can become entrapped by the tray. Infants who become entrapped at the neck are at risk of strangulation.

The recall involves two different older versions of the Peg Perego strollers, Venezia and Pliko-P3, manufactured between January 2004 and September 2007, in a variety of colors. They were manufactured prior to the existence of the January 2008 voluntary industry standard which addresses the height of the opening between the stroller's tray and the seat bottom. The voluntary standard requires larger stroller openings that prevent infant entrapment and strangulation hazards.

Only strollers that have a child tray with one cup holder are part of this recall. Strollers with a bumper bar in front of the child or a tray with two cup holders are not included in this recall.

The following Venezia and Pliko-P3 stroller model numbers that begin with the following numbers are included in this recall. The model number is printed on a white label on the back of the Pliko P-3's stroller seat and on the Venezia stroller's footboard.

Pliko-P3 Stroller Model Numbers: IPFR28US3, IPFT28NA63, IPFT28NA64, IPP328MU10, IPP328MU09, IPP328US09, IPP328US10, IPP329US10, IPPA28US32, IPPA28US33, IPPA28US34, IPPD28NA34, IPPF28NA32, IPPF28NA57, IPPF28NA65, IPPF28NA66, IPPF28NA67, IPPF28NA68, IPPO28US32, IPPO28US34, IPPO28US62, IPPO28US69, IPPO28US70, IPPO28US71

Venezia Stroller Model Numbers: IPVA13MU09, IPVA13MU10, IPVA13US09, IPVA13US10, IPVA13US32, IPVA13US34, IPVC13NA32, IPVC13NA34

"Peg Perego" and "Venezia" or "Pliko-P3" are printed on the side of the strollers.

The strollers were sold at various retailers nationwide, including Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby from January 2004 through September 2010 for between $270 and $330 for the Pliko P-3 stroller and between $350 and $450 for the Venezia stroller. They were manufactured in Italy.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled strollers and contact the firm for a free repair kit. Do not return the stroller to the retailers as they will not be able to provide the repair kit.

For additional information, call Peg Perego at (888) 734-6020 anytime or visit the firm's website at www.PegPeregoUSA.com

CPSC and Peg Perego warn consumers that these strollers may be available on the secondhand market, in thrift stores or at yard sales. Consumers should not buy or sell these recalled strollers until the repair kit is installed.

NOTE: When using a stroller, parents and caregivers are encouraged to always secure children by using the safety harness and never leave them unattended. To learn more about the importance of stroller safety, see CPSC's safety alert: www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/5096.pdf

To see this recall on CPSC's web site, including pictures of the recalled products, please go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12232.html

Your Baby

Danger! Lidocaine and Teething Babies

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If you’ve ever received a prescription for lidocaine, you might be tempted to try it on your teething baby to ease the pain. Lidocaine solution is sometimes used to reduce a child’s gag reflex during dental procedures and to treat mouth and throat ulcers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to parents about using a lidocaine solution as a pain reliever on babies’ gums, saying it can lead to death and serious injuries in infants and toddlers.

"When too much viscous lidocaine is given to infants and young children or they accidentally swallow too much, it can result in seizures, severe brain injury, and problems with the heart," the statement said.

Overdoses or accidental swallowing have led to infants and children being hospitalized or dying, the FDA said.

While the number is not high, some parents or caregivers have tried it as a gum pain reliever during teething. There have been 22 reports this year of serious complications, including deaths, in children ages 5 months to 3 to 5 years who were given lidocaine or accidently swallowed it.

The agency will require a boxed warning on the label for prescription oral viscous lidocaine 2 percent solution to highlight that it should not be used for teething pain, the FDA said in a statement.

Instead of lidocaine, the FDA urges parents to follow the American Academy of Pediatricians' (AAP) recommendations for treating teething pain. They call for using a teething ring, or gently massaging the child's gums with your finger.

Other products containing benzocaine are sometimes used for oral pain relief. The FDA recommends against using these products for children under 2 years of age except under a physician’s supervision. Like viscous lidocaine, benzocaine is a local anesthetic.

The AAP offers these tips for helping your child through the discomfort of teething.

  • Give her firm objects to chew on—teething rings or hard, unsweetened teething crackers. Frozen teething toys should not be used; extreme cold can injure your baby’s mouth and cause more discomfort.
  • If your baby is clearly uncomfortable, talk to your pediatrician about a possible course of action. Your pediatrician may suggest that you give a small dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

The first thing a parent wants to do when they see their baby in pain is to find a way to relieve the discomfort. Teething is one of those times that can be trying for everyone involved. Babies can start teething as early as 3 months.

Pain relievers that are used on a baby’s gums aren’t typically very helpful; a teething baby drools so much that the medication is quickly washed away. In addition, pediatricians warn that such medications can numb the back of the throat and interfere with your baby’s ability to swallow.

Rubbing your baby’s gums or providing a safe teething ring can help ease your infant’s pain until those pesky teeth break through and the gums heal.

Sources: Ian Simpson, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/26/us-usa-fda-teething-idUSKBN0F129120140626

http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/teething-tooth-care/Pages/Teething-Pain.aspx

Your Baby

Walmart Recalls Baby Dolls Due to Burn Hazards

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Twelve children have suffered incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters from “The My Sweet Love” and “My Sweet Baby” dolls sold nationwide at Walmart stores and online.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Walmart is now recalling these dolls. Consumers should immediately take the dolls from children, remove the batteries and return the doll to any Walmart store for a full refund.

The circuit in the chest of the doll can overheat, causing the surface of the doll to get hot, posing a burn hazard to the consumer.

The My Sweet Love / My Sweet Baby electronic baby doll comes in pink floral clothing and matching knit hat. The 16-inch doll is packaged with a toy medical check-up kit including a stethoscope, feeding spoon, thermometer and syringe. The doll’s electronics cause her to babble when she gets “sick,” her cheeks turn red and she starts coughing. Using the medical kit pieces cause the symptoms to stop. “My Sweet Baby” is printed on the front of the clear plastic and cardboard packaging.

The doll is identified by UPC 6-04576-16800-5 and a date code that begins with WM. The date code is printed on the stuffed article label sewn into the bottom of the doll.

Walmart has received 12 reports of incidents, including two reports of burns or blisters to the thumb.

About 174,000 dolls are being recalled and were sold from August 2012 through March 2014 for $20.00.

Consumers can contact Walmart Stores at (800) 925-6278 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT on Saturday, and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. CT on Sunday, or online at www.walmart.com and click on Product Recalls for more information.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Wal-Mart-Recalls-Dolls/#remedy

Walmart Doll Recall

Your Baby

Protect Your Child Against Whooping Cough

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Pertussis, often called whooping cough, is a common disease that peaks every 3 to 5 years. Because the disease is highly infectious, once an outbreak starts it can spread rapidly.  Before a vaccine was available, pertussis killed 5,000 to 10,000 people in the U.S. every year. Currently, documented cases are on the increase and Texas could see the highest number of recorded cases in 50 years.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued a health alert. Officials are urging people to make sure that their vaccinations and their children’s vaccination are up-to-date.

Whooping cough mainly affects infants younger than 6 months and kids 11-18 whose immunity has started to fade from earlier vaccinations.

The first symptoms are similar to those of the common cold. Children may experience a runny nose, sneezing, a mild cough and a low- grade fever. After about 1 to 2 weeks the dry cough evolves into a much harsher coughing spell that can last more than a minute. A child can turn red or purple from coughing so hard and may make the characteristic whooping sound when breathing in. Some children may actually vomit. Between coughing spells the child may look and feel okay.

Sometimes infants don’t cough or whoop like older kids do, but look as if they are gasping for air. Their face can turn red and they may actually stop breathing for a few seconds during a bad session.

The bacteria that causes pertussis is spread from person to person through tiny drops of fluid from an infected person's nose or mouth. These may become airborne when the person sneezes, coughs, or laughs. Adults and children become infected by inhaling the drops or getting the drops on their hands and then touching their mouths or noses. The time that someone is most contagious is during the earliest stages after the cough begins and continues for up to about 2 weeks.

Prevention begins with the pertussis vaccine. It’s part of the DTaP immunization that includes diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis. The immunizations are routinely given in 5 doses before the child’s sixth birthday. The AAP recommends that kids ages 11 to 12 get a booster shot of the new combination vaccine, Tdap, to boost their immunity. Young adults entering college should also make sure that they are up-to-date on their pertussis vaccination. Crowded classrooms and dorms are the perfect breeding ground for contagious diseases. 

Infants younger than 2 months cannot be vaccinated. To help protect those babies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women receive the pertussis vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation.

The name “whooping cough” sounds a little comical, but if you’ve ever witnessed a child in the throws of a pertussis coughing attack, it’s anything but funny. This disease can be fatal for little ones, so make sure you’re child is current on all of his or her DTap vaccinations and Tdap booster shots. If you are pregnant you can help protect your infant by getting the pertussis vaccination while you are carrying.

Research shows that adults and children who are not vaccinated are 8 times more likely to get whooping cough. Those that have received the vaccine may still get the disease but it tends to be less severe and doesn’t last quite as long.

Many of the cases in Texas are concentrated in the Fort Worth and Arlington area.  Statewide there have been 2 deaths, both were infants that were too young to recieve the vaccine. 

If your child has been diagnosed with whooping cough and is being treated at home, seek immediate medical care if he or she has difficulty breathing or shows signs of dehydration.

Sources: Gordon Dickson, http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/09/03/5130886/whooping-cough-outbreak-could.html

http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/bacterial_viral/whooping_cough.html#

Your Baby

Spit-Cleaning Your Infant’s Binky

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Have you ever sucked on your baby’s pacifier to clean it? Many parents have. Babies drop their binkies all the time and if you’re in a hurry or just figure a little spit-cleaning won’t hurt, you’re more likely to stick it in your own mouth and give it a quick once over.

A new study out of Sweden says the spit-cleaning technique may actually help your infant avoid eczema and asthma.

“It was surprising that the effect was so strong,” says pediatric allergist Dr. Bill Hesselmar of Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, lead author of the study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

The study involved 136 infants who used a pacifier in their first 6 months. 65 of the infants had parents that reported sucking the pacifier to clean it. In those children, both eczema and asthma were strongly reduced when they were examined at 18 months of age. At 36 months of age, the protective effect remained for eczema but not for asthma.

Scientists didn’t know why the sucking on the baby’s pacifier acted as a protector or whether it was filtering out germs. The technique didn’t have any impact on respiratory illness, meaning that the babies were not more likely to get a cold or the flu from their parents. Common sense would dictate that if you have a cold or the flu or any other contagious condition, then it’s not a good idea to suck on your baby’s binky. Otherwise, maybe it’s not such a bad idea.

Why is sucking on your infant’s pacifier possibly helpful in preventing asthma or eczema in your child? Scientists hypothesize that tiny organisms in the saliva of the parents may be why. Parent’s saliva introduces gut micoflora that live in the digestive tract of the baby. “We know that if infants have diverse microflora in the gut, then children will have less allergy and less eczema,” says Hesselmar. “When parents suck on the pacifier, they are transferring microflora to the child.”

Many pediatricians and family doctors are concerned that children are being “excessively cleaned” into illness. With anti-bacterial soaps and swipes being used on everything, and kids not allowed to get dirty, their immune system isn’t getting the workout it needs to help fight off common illnesses. The bacterial microorganisms provided in the parent’s saliva might help stimulate the baby’s immune system.

“The most exciting result was the eczema,” says Christine Johnson, chair of the public health department at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital. “I’m a bit more skeptical about the asthma findings because asthma is hard to measure before a child is five or six years old.”

Hesselmar also urges moms to lick the baby’s pacifier if their child was delivered by C-section. Vaginal delivered babies receive quite a bit of microbes during delivery. C-section babies can be more prone to allergies. “If they are using a pacifier and those parents think it’s OK to suck on the pacifier, then yes, I would recommend it,” Hesselmar says.

Some parents may find the idea of picking up a pacifier that’s fallen on the floor and putting it in their mouth kind of disgusting. That’s fine, there’s no need to worry about it. If the idea doesn’t bother you, all the better says Hesselmar, “I haven’t heard of anyone getting ill from it,” he says. “There isn’t much bacteria on the floor.”

Source: Barbara Mantel, http://www.today.com/moms/why-it-may-be-ok-spit-clean-your-babys-binkie-6C9773378

Your Baby

RSV Season in Full Swing

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Every year, up to 80,000 babies are hospitalized nationwide and about 500 die due to RSV-related illnesses. The virus may produce permanent health conditions such as asthma and breathing disorders.During the next few months, parents are urged to watch for signs of a lung infection that could turn deadly or cause lifelong health problems in their infants.

From late fall until early spring is the peak season for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the leading cause of pneumonia and Bronchiolitis in infants. "Approximately 70 percent of children will contract RSV by the end of their first year," says Dr. Michael E. Speer, medical director of quality and outcomes management at Texas Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics in the section of neonatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. "By the time a child is 2 years old, that number rises to 97 percent. In addition, the risk of re-infection between the ages of 1 and 2 years is 76 percent." Every year, up to 80,000 babies are hospitalized nationwide and about 500 die due to RSV-related illnesses. The virus may produce permanent health conditions such as asthma and breathing disorders. "RSV can be especially dangerous to at-risk babies," says Dr. Speer. "This population includes premature infants, children 2 years and younger with chronic lung disease and patients who take medications for heart conditions." Speer credits improved care, such as the use of prophylactic immunization, for a decrease in the volume of seriously ill babies and fatalities in the last few years. Although RSV has no cure, monthly injections of the preventive vaccine – a monoclonal antibody known as Synagis – may reduce the risk of hospitalization. "Even if a child gets RSV while on Synagis, it's worthwhile to continue the medication, because there is more than one strain of RSV," says Dr. Speer. What to Watch For Dr. Sue Hubbard, medical editor of www.kidsdr.com says the signs of RSV initially, may resemble those of a cold, such as fever and runny nose. As the disease takes hold, symptoms may worsen. In younger children, especially infants and toddlers, RSV can affect their lungs, causing Bronchiolitis or pneumonia. These children can develop more severe symptoms after about 2 to 4 days of having regular cold symptoms and after their fever may have gone away, including: •       Irritability and poor feeding •       Lethargy •       Worsening cough •       Difficulty breathing, with retractions and nasal flaring •       Fast breathing •       Wheezing •       Hypoxemia (low oxygen levels), although cyanosis, is not common •       Apnea, although this is most common in infants under 6 weeks of age Be sure to call your pediatrician or seek other medical attention if your child's cold seems to be worsening and you think he is developing more Because RSV is spread easily through the respiratory tract, parents are urged to keep their babies away from any person with a cold or fever. Other precautionary advice to family members and caregivers includes washing hands thoroughly before handling the baby, avoiding crowded areas and never exposing the baby to tobacco smoke. RSV Facts RSV is the most common virus that occurs in babies. The leading cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in infants, RSV is especially dangerous to at-risk babies, including infants born prematurely, children with chronic lung disease and patients who take medication for heart conditions. The RSV season begins in late fall and extends through early spring. During this time, up to 80,000 infants are hospitalized nationwide and approximately 500 die from RSV-related illnesses. RSV is spread easily from person to person through respiratory tract secretions. Symptoms initially may resemble those of a cold, such as fever and runny nose. As the disease worsens, symptoms can include coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing and rapid breathing. Although not a cure, monthly injections of the monoclonal antibody Synagis for high risk babies – a preventive vaccine – may reduce the risk of hospitalization.  This vaccine is very expensive. Do your homework and consult your pediatrician.

Your Baby

Should Pregnant Women Buckle-Up?

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Should expectant mothers buckle up and make sure the air bag is turned on before driving or riding in a car?  Absolutely say researchers in a recent study by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Many women are concerned that, in case of an accident, seat belts and /or air bags might harm their unborn child, but according to the study, expectant mothers who are not restrained during a car crash are more likely to lose the pregnancy than those who are.

According to the March of Dimes, nearly 170,000 pregnant women are involved in a motor vehicle accident each year.

"One thing we're always concerned about is (educating) patients on seatbelt use," said Dr. Haywood Brown, the chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Duke University Medical Center and senior author of the new study.

"Nonetheless, like all individuals, some choose and some do not choose to wear their seatbelt," he added.

For the study, Brown and his colleagues searched through the trauma registry at Duke University Hospital. They found 126 cases of women in their 2nd and 3rd trimesters that had been in a car crash and were cared for at the hospital between 1994 and 2010.

What they discovered was that 86 mothers were wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred. Of that group, 3.5 percent or (3) fetuses died.

12 mothers were not wearing a seat belt. Of the unrestrained group, 25 percent or (3) fetuses died. 

"The bottom line is, you've got to wear your restraint because it decreases the risk not only for your injuries but injury to your child," Brown told Reuters Health.

Where should the seat belt be placed? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that the seat belt be fitted low across the hipbones and below the belly.

The March of Dimes offers more seat belt and air bag guidelines for pregnant women:

  • Always wear both the lap and shoulder belt.
  • Never place the lap belt across your belly.
  • Rest the shoulder belt between your breasts and off to the side of your belly.
  • Never place the shoulder belt under your arm.
  • If possible, adjust the shoulder belt height to fit you correctly.
  • Make sure the seat belt fits snugly.
  • Driving can be tiring for anyone. Try to limit driving to no more than 5-6 hours per day.
  • Never turn off the air bags if your car has them. Instead, tilt your car seat and move it as far as possible from the dashboard or steering wheel.
  • If you are in a crash, get treatment right away to protect yourself and your baby.
  • Call your health provider at once if you have contractions, pain in your belly, or blood or fluid leaking from your vagina.

Researchers found that first time mothers were the least likely to use a seat belt. Brown noted it's possible that the habit of buckling in children might prompt mothers to put on their own seatbelt.

Mothers-to-be also worry about airbags and whether they could harm the fetus if a crash causes deployment.

In the study, airbags came out in 17 of the accidents, and in those cases the mother was more likely to experience the placenta separating from the uterus - a condition that can be fatal for the mother or the fetus.

Another researcher, not involved in the study, suggested to Reuters Health that the severity of the accidents, and not the airbags, might have been the cause of the serious consequences.

Brown said some women will disarm the airbag for fear that it will damage the baby in case of a crash, but "it's not the smart thing to do because it will save your life if the airbag comes out."

A study, from researchers in Washington State, found that airbags did not increase the risk of most pregnancy-related injuries.

No one likes to think about the damage a car accident can cause, but the reality is that seat belts and air bags save lives. Mothers-to-be, like everyone else, should use theirs when driving or riding in a car. You may need to make some adjustments so that your seat belt fits safely and correctly and the air bag is not right up next to your stomach, but taking those few extra steps could mean the difference between life and death.

Sources: Kerry Grens, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/08/us-buckle-up-during-pregnancy-idUSBRE92710P20130308

http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/stayingsafe_seatbelts.html

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