A recent car accident pregnancy injury study performed by the University of Michigan in conjunction with the National Highway and Safety Administration estimates that mother and fetal injuries and deaths due to car accident injuries have been significantly increasing over the past few years.
Exact numbers are difficult to obtain, due to the frequency of miscarriages within the first trimester. However, the research estimates that between 1,500 and 5,000 fetal deaths a year occur as a direct result of injuries sustained during car collisions. In addition to the fatalities, even small fender-benders cause tens of thousands of permanent injuries and in utero complications.
So, what is it that puts your baby at such great risk? Why are unborn children at greater risk than their mothers? What exactly is the threat?
Driver and Passenger Baby Bump Injury Risks
Although your risk of getting into an accident while your pregnant is low, if you are in an accident, the chances that your baby will suffer some sort of consequences are extremely high—an alarming 70 percent—according to a Department of Transportation study on pregnant occupant injury risks.
This is why it is extremely important to understand your baby’s risks before getting behind the wheel. Common collision factors that cause fetal damage are as follows:
- Steering wheel. Due to the placement of the steering wheel, any type of collision or braking force can cause your body to be thrown into the wheel, essentially causing the wheel to push straight into your baby.
- Airbags. Airbags deploy at nearly 200 mph in order to keep you and your head from hitting the wheel with fatal force. Unfortunately, most of this force is aimed toward your chest and abdomen. This basically means that in order to help save your life, your baby is getting punched with extreme forces.
- Safety belts. If you’ve ever been in an accident before, you know that seat belts are essential to keep you safe, even though they can cause severe bruising and even broken bones where the belt rested. The belt is usually positioned across your collarbone and pelvis in order to dissipate potential forces. However, many expectant mothers place seat belts across their bulging belly (reminiscent of strapping in a watermelon) in order to keep it secure. Unfortunately, this is extremely dangerous for your baby, as all of the force of the collision—instead of dissipating through strong bones—will be concentrated on your belly and your baby. Think about the painful bruises when the belt is placed it is supposed to be; now imagine all of that pain and force aimed at your child
- The dashboard. When there isn’t significant space between your belly and the dashboard, if you’re forcibly thrown forward—much as if you were driving—the first thing that will make contact with the dashboard is your belly bump. This can cause impact injuries, and your baby could also suffer severe crushing injuries.
- Impalements. Broken pieces of glass, torn metal shards, and environmental debris can easily cut, stab, and potentially eviscerate your abdomen.
- Broken pelvic bones. A broken pelvis or rib could protrude toward your child, or cause delivery complications when giving birth.
Protecting Your Bundle After an Accident
No matter the severity of a car accident, or how minor your injuries appear, you should never take chances with your baby’s health and well being. After suffering a collision—even a minor one—you need to seek medical attention immediately in order to assess your and your baby’s injuries. Remember, the only protection your baby has is you and your judgment after a collision; don’t jeopardize his safety by misjudging the possible risks.
If you or your baby has recently been injured in a collision and you need help with your injury claim, contact us today. Protecting your baby is your fundamental right. Let us help you get the justice, compensation and peace of mind you both deserve contact our Virginia injury lawyers today.