Your Baby

Exposure to Air Pollutants During Pregnancy Linked to Autism

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One of the great medical questions perplexing scientists today is, what causes autism spectrum disorders?  While the number of children diagnosed with autism continues to climb, no one seems quite sure why.

A new study may offer at least one reason why certain children develop the complex neurodevelopment disorder - toxic air pollutants.

Preliminary study results from the University of Pittsburgh show a significant correlation between exposure to toxic air pollutants during pregnancy and a child's early years of life and the development of autism spectrum disorders.

"Autism currently affects one in every 68 children in the U.S., and the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders among children in Pennsylvania is increasing," explained Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, executive director of Women for a Healthy Environment. "It is increasingly clear that autism constitutes a significant public health problem, both nationally and here in Pennsylvania."

"Southwestern Pennsylvania has struggled with air pollution for decades, and progress cleaning up our air has been far too slow," said Court Gould, executive director of Sustainable Pittsburgh. "This new abstract adds to a growing body of evidence linking exposure to toxic air pollutants with increased risks of childhood autism spectrum disorders. We owe it to our children to clean up our air once and for all."

Research published last year in JAMA Psychiatry and Environmental Health Perspectives, also revealed a link between perinatal exposure to air pollutants and autism.

For this study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh conducted a population-based case control study in six counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, estimating the association between autism spectrum disorders and 30 known neurotoxicants. The researchers found that exposure to chromium, cyanide, styrene and other toxic air pollutants during pregnancy and a child's early years of life increased the likelihood that a child would be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Styrene is used in the production of plastics and paints, but is also one of the products of combustion when burning gasoline in vehicles.

Chromium is a heavy metal and air pollution containing it is typically the result of industrial processes and in the hardening of steel.

Cyanide is used in a number of industries or can be found in vehicle exhaust.

"Over the past ten years, we have been seeing an increasing rate of autism not only in the Pittsburgh area but all over the world, and our concern has been that this increase cannot be strictly genetic in origin," said Dr. Scott Faber, Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician at The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh. "These findings add to a growing body of evidence giving us great concern that pollution occurring in our region is increasing the risk of children developing neurodevelopmental disorders."

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh presented an abstract of the study at the annual conference of the American Association for Aerosol Research.

http://www.autismspeaks.org offers families information on autism spectrum disorder including symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options.

Sources: Elaine Labalme, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pitt-study-air-pollution-linked-to-autism-in-southwestern-pennsylvania-361780991.html

Your Baby

Recall: Baby Recliners Linked to 5 Infant Deaths

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Baby Matters LLC is voluntarily recalling its foam rubber Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill infant recliners and their covers, in exchange for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) dropping an administrative complaint that it filed in December 2012.

From 2009 to the present, the Commission staff has received at least 92 incident reports involving the Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill products, including five infant deaths. CPSC is aware of four infants who died in Nap Nanny Generation Two recliners and a fifth death involved in the Chill model. In the incident reports received by CPSC, there were 92 reports of infants hanging or falling over the side of the products, including some infants who were restrained in the product’s harness.

In December 2012, four major retailers—Amazon.com, Buy Buy Baby, Diapers.com, and Toys R Us/Babies R Us—announced a voluntary recall of Nap Nanny and Chill models sold in their stores. Consumers who purchased a Nap Nanny from one of these retailers should contact the retailer for instructions on how to obtain a refund for the product.

About 165,000 of the Nap Nanny and Chill products were sold between 2009 and 2012 for about $130. The recalled products were sold at toy and children's retail stores nationwide and online, including at www.napnanny.com.

Baby Matters LLC is no longer in business and is not accepting returns. CPSC urges consumers to immediately dispose of the products to ensure that they are not used again.

Consumer contact:

-       Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com

-       Buy Buy Baby: Toll-free at (877) 328-9222,
http://www.buybuybaby.com/productRecalls.asp

-       Diapers.com: (800) 342-7377, http://www.diapers.com

-       Toys R Us/Babies R Us: (800) 869-7787, 
http://www.toysrusinc.com/safety/recalls

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2013/Four-Retailers-Agree-to-Stop-Sale-and-Voluntarily-Recall-Nap-Nanny-Recliners-Due-to-Five-Infant-Deaths/

Baby Matters baby recliner

Your Baby

Co-sleeping Infant Deaths on the Rise

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Some parents prefer the closeness of sleeping with their infant during naps and through the night; often called co-sleeping, bed sharing or family bed. However, the facts support that using a crib is much safer for baby.

Texas, like some other states, is seeing a dramatic rise in infant deaths related to co-sleeping. So far this year in Texas, there have been 164 cases reported, which is on pace to surpass the record of 174 co-sleeping deaths investigated by CPS in 2011.

The state has responded by launching a $100,000 ad campaign to discourage co-sleeping between parents and babies.

“The main message is we want parents to create a safe sleeping environment for their babies,” said Paul Zimmerman, media specialist with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

Children under one year old are at the most risk of dying during co-sleeping according to the DFPS. Of the 164 deaths reported so far in 2014, 160 were under one.

Babies aren’t strong enough to move themselves if they end up face down in a pillow, blanket, arm or chest.  The most common cause of death during co-sleeping is when the parent accidently rolls over on the child.

The DFPS website provides the “ABCs of Infant Sleep.”

  • A - Babies should sleep alone.
  • B - On their backs with no blankets or bedding.
  • C  - In a crib and cool (70 degrees).
  • S  - In a smoke-free environment.

“These are preventable tragedies, and risk can be minimized when parents/caregivers follow some common sense do’s and don’ts,” Zimmerman said.

Other suggestions to help avoid infant suffocation are on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) website. 

  • Place your baby on a firm mattress, covered by a fitted sheet that meets current safety standards. For more about crib safety standards, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Web site at http://www.cpsc.gov.
  • Place the crib in an area that is always smoke - free.
  • Don’t place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, pillows, or cushions.
  • Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads, and wedges should not be placed in the crib with the baby.
  • Loose bedding, such as sheets and blankets, should not be used as these items can impair the infant’s ability to breathe if they are close to his or her face. Sleep clothing, such as sleepers, sleep sacks, and wearable blankets are better alternatives to blankets.

Co-sleeping advocates say that there are benefits to sharing the bed with an infant such as babies go to sleep quicker and sleep longer. Breastfeeding is easier and mothers are more rested. They often recommend the same safeguards such as a firm mattress and no toys or pillows.

Pediatricians and other childhood health experts, on the other hand, believe that co-sleeping is too risky and that these types of infant deaths are totally avoidable by placing a crib or a bassinette next to the bed instead.

Sources: Blake Ursch, http://lubbockonline.com/health/2014-07-04/texas-launches-campaign-curb-infant-sleeping-deaths#.U8ghVRZUMpE

http://www.healthychildren.org

http://www.dfps.state.tx.us

Your Baby

Kids II Recalls Baby Einstein Activity Jumpers

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Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumpers are being recalled due to impact hazard, the sun toy can snap.

About 400,000 units in the U.S. have been sold and 8,500 in Canada.

Description: This recall includes Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumpers with model number 90564. The model number can be found on a tag attached to the underside of the seat. These stationary activity centers have a support seat covered in blue fabric attached to a large white metal frame and include a variety of brightly colored toys surrounding the seat. The yellow sun toy is attached to the seat frame on a flexible stalk with either three or five brightly colored rings. A date code is located in the lower right corner of the sewn in label on the back of the blue seat pad. The following date codes, indicating a manufacture date prior to November 2011, are included in the recall: OD0, OE0, OF0, OG0, OH0, OI0, OJ0, OK0, OL0, OA1, OB1, OC1, OD1, OE1, OF1, OG1, OH1, OI1, OJ1 and OK1.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received 100 reports of incidents including 61 injuries. Reported injuries include bruises, lacerations to the face, a 7-month-old boy who sustained a lineal skull fracture and a chipped tooth to an adult.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the product and contact Kids II for a replacement toy attachment.

Sold at: Target, Toys R Us and other retails stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com between May 2010 and May 2013 for about $90.

Importer: Kids II Inc., of Atlanta, Ga.

For more information on this recall you can go to; http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/Kids-II-Recalls-Baby-Einstein-Activity-Jumpers or

Consumer Contact: Kids II toll-free at (877) 325-7056 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.kidsii.com, then click on the Recall link at the bottom of the page for more information.

Kids II Recalls Baby Einstein Activity Jumpers

Your Baby

Tips to Help Soothe Baby’s Eczema

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Wintertime is the worst time of the year for dry, itchy skin. The cold air outside and indoor heating suck all the moisture out of the air and out of your baby’s skin. Winter is when eczema tends to rear its ugly scales.

If your child is itching and scratching all the time and has patches of scaly skin then he or she may have eczema. All the scratching is truly heartbreaking when your little one can’t seem to stop even when it leads to bloody fingers and sores. Fortunately there are several eczema treatments that can offer relief for your baby.

A lot of people think that bathing a baby every day will actually cause the baby’s skin to be drier, but the opposite is true. Baths add moisture to dry skin and get rid of surface bacteria that can cause skin infections.

“It can be fun for baby, and it's good for bonding with the parents,” says Amy S. Paller, MD, professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “It's a wonderful way to get hydration into the skin.”

The type of soap you use is important. Make sure that it is fragrance-free, mild or try a soap-less cleanser for sensitive skin. Bathe your baby for five to 10 minutes in tepid water, pat her dry to retain some moisture on her skin, then apply moisturizer.

Moisturize your baby’s skin as least twice a day.  Dry skin can make eczema worse and bring out more inflammation, says Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD, professor of pediatrics and dermatology at the University of California, San Diego. Moisturizing often helps break what he calls “the itch-scratch cycle.”

Creams and ointments are thicker than lotions and work better on your baby’s skin. If your doctor has prescribed an anti-itch cream, apply it before the moisturizer.

Different seasons require different types of moisturizers as well. A lighter cream is best in the summer and petroleum based ointments work best in the winter. Use caution when considering “natural” or organic products. Many of these products contain oil extracts and fragrance of flowers that some babies may be sensitive to. Check with your doctor about well-proven products that have been tested for sensitivities.

One particular bath that may sound too harsh but is actually very effective in treating eczema is the diluted-bleach bath. Nanette Silverberg, MD, director of pediatric dermatology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, suggests diluted bleach baths for babies over 6 months who have moderate or severe eczema. They’re especially helpful if your baby has crusting on the skin. Bleach helps remove staph bacteria -- a known eczema trigger -- without resorting to antibiotics. Talk to your pediatrician before giving your baby a bleach bath.

Use 1 teaspoon of bleach per 1 gallon of water or ¼ cup per full bathtub.

Many parents whose children have eczema put anti-scratch mittens on them, They can be very helpful in keeping babies from scratching, but not so much so for older babies and toddlers who can take them off. To reduce irritation, keep your child’s fingernails cut short and filed with an emery board, so they’re not sharp. If you notice your child scratching more than usual, take her to the doctor, who can prescribe anti-itch medicine.

Dress your baby in layers of soft, loose-fitting, breathable cotton to keep her skin comfortable. At night, however, it may help to swaddle your infant in a cotton blanket. Swaddling helps many babies sleep better.

Avoiding eczema triggers is key to helping your baby stay comfortable.

  • Fragrances. Products with fragrance can cause reactions. Use unscented products whenever possible.
  • Detergents. Ask your pediatric dermatologist to recommend a gentle, fragrance-free laundry detergent.
  • Rough fabrics. Consider your wardrobe, too -- change out of a wool sweater before cuddling your baby.
  • Saliva. Babies who drool when eating or sleeping can get rashes on their faces, because saliva can irritate sensitive skin. Put Vaseline on her cheeks before mealtime or naptime to create a barrier between the saliva and her skin.

The good news is that many children will grow out of their eczema when they reach their teens. At this time, eczema isn’t curable, but it can be managed and your baby can be more comfortable.

Source: Lisa Fields, http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/treatment-11/soothe-baby-eczema

Your Baby

From Breast to Bottle; An Adventure

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Ah yes, I remember breastfeeding my baby.

As a young and somewhat naïve mother, it was like stepping onto foreign soil. A place I’d never visited before.

For me, the most unexpected part of this ancient ritual was how painful it was at first.  I’d heard about the bonding it would bring, the day and night hours required and how if I ate certain foods before feeding, my baby could end up with a bad bout of gas.

However, no one mentioned that it was going to hurt like crazy until my nipples “toughened up,” (as my doctor was fond of saying) or how my breasts would become milk waterfalls cascading through my blouse while grocery shopping. Eventually, I got the hang of it and it began to feel like a natural extension of being a mom.

When it came time to transition to bottle-feeding, I actually felt a little sad about letting go of what had become a special time with my baby girl. Her fuzzy little head resting against my breast and her curious eyes watching my every expression as she ate.  We had a lot of one-sided conversations with me telling her about my day and her sucking, burping and falling asleep.

Alas though, one cannot breastfeed forever. So I began again with learning how to keep my baby well nourished while trying to figure out how much formula to give her and how to warm a bottle without scalding us both.

I breastfed for about 5 months – give or take a few weeks. Making the changeover left me feeling a little guilty. My little one seemed to really dislike the replacement bottle, so we did it in stages. I also added breast milk to the bottle at first so she would recognize the taste. It was not a smooth transition.

We ultimately came to an agreement that she would drink from the bottle if I would rock her and sing to her and make funny faces. Another caveat was we’d have to do it in short spurts of time – she would refuse-then accept, refuse-accept. I think it was so that she could feel like she had a little control over the whole unsettling situation. Agreed.

Shortly after we started working on the bottle arrangement, my pediatrician suggested that adding small amounts of solid foods to her diet might also be helpful in weaning her off the breasts.

My first response to this perfectly sane idea was... “What real foods? Biscuits and gravy? Scrambled eggs and toast? Shouldn’t I put these foods in a blender or something? I don’t think she can eat them straight-up.”

“Uh, no” she responded calmly. “Let’s start with a small amount of baby cereal.”

And so, a new tradition began. Here’s how it went.

Make a little baby cereal. Put it on a tiny little spoon and attempt to delicately get it in her tightly shut mouth.

Taste the baby cereal (to make sure it is not too hot, not too cold.)

Stir cereal and try again to get the itty-bitty spoon into her itty-bitty securely shut mouth.

Lead by example.

“Watch mommy. This is really good cereal. Mmmm – I think this is the best cereal I’ve ever eaten.” Actually it’s not bad.

Stick finger in cereal and rub on baby’s squeezed tight-as-a drum, never to be opened mouth.

Switch to a much larger spoon and start scooping.

“You’re missing out on some amazing cereal, sweetie. Yum, yum, yum.”

Repeat as necessary.

“Oh look… it’s all gone. Good job!”

It took awhile to finally make the switch from breast to bottle. It was quite an experience for both of us. Two important goals were eventually accomplished; my sweet baby survived and flourished and my breasts’ finally quit hurting.

If you’re breastfeeding, someday you’ll introduce a bottle, sippy-cup or spoon to your child. Expect a battle, it’s ok. Keep a grip on patience and humor. You’ll need them both.

Warm compresses can ease the discomfort of sore breasts and gradually nursing or pumping less will signal your body to stop producing copious amounts of milk.

I’d recommend keeping a small towel in your purse (speaking from experience.) You might also want to stash an extra shirt in the car – and a bra -just sayin.

And you know what? You can ask for help. Have daddy or grandparents, other family members or good friends hold the bottle and make funny faces. Sometimes it actually helps to have someone without your familiar breasts, smell and voice take part in introducing the bottle to your baby.

Every mother who has breastfed has her own stories to tell when it came time to wean her infant. You’ll have yours and most likely you’ll smile and say softly – Ah yes, I remember breastfeeding (and baby cereal). 

Your Baby

Can Babies Learn Nursery Rhymes in Utero?

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Can a fetus learn from experience before he or she is even born? Absolutely, says an interesting new study.

Researchers from the University of Florida say that they began their study with 32 women who were in the 28th week of pregnancy. They had them repeat the verse of a nursery rhyme, twice daily to their babies, between weeks 29 and 34 of their pregnancy.

Four weeks later, the moms were brought back into the lab to determine whether the rhyme had been learned.

The problem was how to test the fetuses to see if they actually were learning the verse. While tricky to figure out, the scientists came up with a simple solution.  As it turns out studies have shown that a late term fetus’s heart rate will slow down when something familiar is heard.

During the testing, the moms listened to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” with headphones so they couldn’t hear what was being said. During that time, a stranger recited the same nursery rhyme that the mothers had repeatedly spoken to their babies.

The researchers found that when the babies heard the stranger’s voice recite the nursery rhyme their moms had recited, their heart rate slowed down. But, when they heard the stranger’s voice recite a different rhyme, their heart rate remained the same.

“We were basically asking the fetus, if your mother says this repeatedly, will you remember it?” said the study’s lead author, Charlene Krueger, an associate professor in nursing at the University of Florida. “As a take away message I would want mothers to understand is that their speech is very important to the developing fetus. When a mother speaks, not only does the fetus hear, but also the whole spine vibrates.”

Speech isn’t the only thing that babies absorb while in the womb. Studies have shown that around the 20th week of pregnancy the sensory systems for taste and smell have developed. That allows the baby to experience some of mom’s favorite foods as nutrients pass into the womb.

An earlier study by Dr. Christine Moon, an affiliate associate professor in the department of speech and hearing sciences at the University of Washington and a professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, may show that Kruger’s pre-term research is on the right path.

Moon’s study showed that when healthy one- hour- old infants heard recordings of their mother’s voice, they began to suck faster on a pacifier than babies who heard a recording of a stranger.

Krueger’s study is pushing the envelope as far as when babies actually begin to learn, but the results may suggest that they are capable of acquiring recognition much earlier than originally thought.

While interesting, this type of research is still very much in its infancy.

The study was published in the journal Infant Behavior and Development.

Source: Linda Carroll, http://www.today.com/parents/fetuses-can-learn-nursery-rhymes-moms-voice-study-finds-1D79962083

Your Baby

40% of Parents Start Baby on Solid Foods Too Early

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When should babies be introduced to solid foods? Many physician groups and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend waiting till your infant is at least 6 months old before solid foods are introduced into his or her diet.

But a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that 4 in 10 parents start feeding their babies solid foods before their four-month birthday.

Why should parents wait? According to the AAP, it’s partly because early solid foods have been linked to obesity and other chronic conditions. Public health experts also agree that a mother’s breast milk or nutritionally fortified formula is best fed exclusively till the baby is about 6 months old.

"Introducing solid foods early means that the baby gets less breast milk over the course of their infancy, and that decreases the ability to get optimal benefits, like protection against infection," said Dr. Alice Kuo, from the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities.

Choking on solid foods is another concern experts have noted.

"Infants should be able to sit up (and) take food off the spoon," said the CDC's Kelley Scanlon, who worked on the research." Sometimes if they're not ready, if they get presented with the food, they might not open their mouth… or they might spit it back up."

The team’s research included 1,334 new moms who filled out questionnaires each month about what their baby had eaten in the past week. The surveys were conducted between 2005 and 2007, when AAP recommendations called for starting solid foods no earlier than four months of age. Just over 40 percent of parents reported their babies were eating solids, such as cereals and purees, before that point.

Why were the mothers feeding solid foods so early? They gave several answers. They thought their baby was old enough, their infant seemed hungry – even after being breastfed or given a bottle, and surprisingly many reported that their doctor or nurse had recommended they start introducing solid foods.

"There's not clear communication of the recommendations or the potential health impacts of early introduction," Scanlon told Reuters Health.

9% said they had actually introduced baby solid food before their child was one-month old according to findings published in the journal Pediatrics.

Women who reported exclusive breastfeeding during their baby's first couple of months were less likely to introduce solid foods earlier than recommended compared to formula-feeding mothers, the CDC researchers found.

Mayoclinic.com says that between 4 and 6 months old, babies begin to develop the coordination needed to close their lips around a spoon as well as move solid foods from the back of the their mouths for swallowing.

Starting solid food too early can:

- Pose a risk of aspiration — or sucking food into the airway — since most babies don't have the oral motor skills to safely swallow foods before age 4 months.

- Cause a baby to get too much or not enough calories or nutrients.

- Increase a baby's risk of obesity.

Kuo said the new findings are further evidence that pediatricians should tailor their messages about breastfeeding and solid foods to each particular parent and child - rather than always giving "the same spiel" about introducing solids at the four-month visit.

"The decision to start solid foods in babies has to be a compromise between what makes sense for the baby and what makes sense for the mom, who most likely is working," she said.

And what about the old wives tale of feeding a little solid food at night will help baby sleep better? Research has shown that it doesn't.

Genevra Pittman, http://news.yahoo.com/many-parents-introduce-solids-4-months-cdc-195553198.html

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/starting-solids/AN02145

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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