Seatbelt Use during Pregnancy: Are Public Health Professionals Missing Part of the Story?

by | Nov 17, 2022 | Blog, News

Missouri State Law mandates that everyone riding in the front seat must be buckled in. Yet, in 2017, 41% of injury-related maternal deaths were due to Motor Vehicle Crashes (MVC). For years, federal public health entities have urged people to wear seatbelts. Many of these campaigns seek to use data as an educational tool to change seatbelt behavior. Additionally, local governments have sought to institute fines to deter non-compliance when it comes to seatbelt use. Even still, one can find traumatic videos of individuals who have lost their lives to improper seatbelt use. So, why aren’t people listening? Could there be more to the story? Many researchers and online forums have been providing spaces and asking questions to learn about people’s attitudes and beliefs on seatbelt safety. So, what are we missing? Health care professionals have become pros at talking about the importance care safety for infants. They teach expectant birthing people on the use of car seats and how to install them. Yet, there is a gap in educational preparation or provider protocols for expectant birthing people. As a community, it’s our charge to listen and create solutions that centers the whole person – their mental and physical health. While law enforcement and public health professionals alike have sought various methods to deter non-compliance with seatbelt use, one must ask, is it working? Have we considered poverty and the ability to afford cars with working seatbelts? Have we addressed fetal death fears of expectant families? How are doctors addressing concerns about seatbelt comfortability for people with a growing fetus? Education is important. Saving lives is important. Feelings are valid. People are complex beings. So let’s focus not just on physical safety, but also consider mental safety. Let us move from criminalization to community conversation.


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