At a time when more and more states are contemplating fetal protection laws that criminalize harm to an unborn child -- including vehicular homicide -- "federal regulators, automakers and trauma surgeons are studying car crashes involving pregnant women to see how safety devices protect, or harm, the" unborn child.
While airbags "have raised new fears about fetal safety ... misuse of seat belts remains the biggest concern," USA Today reports. Since 1993, two unborn children "have been killed by air bags," and "medical experts estimate up to 4,000" unborn children "may be killed each year because pregnant women either don't wear safety belts or wear them improperly."
Miami trauma surgeon Jeff Augenstein said, "The lap portion of a seat belt can be much more injurious to" an unborn child "than an air bag." USA Today reports "[r]esearchers are looking into whether safety devices should be made more benign ... and if cars can be made less dangerous for [unborn children] and the 4 million women who are pregnant each year."
General Motors is developing a "pregnant" crash test dummy that can "measure the amount of force on a woman's uterus," and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration "has asked surgeons in a network of trauma centers studying car crashes to look for cases involving women at least 20 weeks pregnant whose [unborn children] could have been harmed by air bags or seat belts" (O'Donnell, USA Today, 8/3).
Source: Crisis Pregnancy Centers Online