Review of Tummy Shield: Pregnancy Car Seat Belt Positioner
While I’ve not carried a child in my womb, many of my close friends and coworkers have; the majority of them have confessed that they gave little thought to how driving a car changes when pregnant. That unintentional disregard is apparently common across the entire nation.
Because standard vehicle seatbelts are not designed for pregnant women–who have different sensitive areas than the average driver–traffic collisions pose a serious threat to them and their unborn children. A revolutionary new product called Tummy Shield is the only one of its kind, developed to protect unborn children by diverting the seatbelt from across the mother’s waist.
Review of Tummy Shield, the Pregnancy Seat Belt Positioner
USA Distributor: Safe Ride 4 Kids
Size: 17 x 18 inches
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The patented Tummy Shield was invented in Australia and has been imported to the USA by Safe Ride 4 Kids, a company founded by a former paramedic and Child Passenger Safety Technician. The product–a high-strength cushion with a heavy steel hook–secures the waistline seatbelt at the legs rather than the belly, thus eliminating pressure on the abdomen and reducing the chance of harm to the child.
Tummy Shield has earned multiple awards, including the 2016 Gold Award in the Mom’s Choice Awards and BabyMaternity Magazine’s Top Choice Award (2014). It’s even Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA).
The cushion can also help with other physical conditions involving gastric bypass, the gall bladder, hysterectomy, hernias, and post-delivery pain.
Tummy Shield arrives in a flat, square slipcase box with pictures and instructions printed all over it. Considering the eight-pound weight of the product, the box is sturdy enough to transport the Tummy Shield and function as a storage case in between pregnancies/uses.
The high tensile stainless steel anchor is wrapped in a firm foam cushion and combination grey/brown fabric. The cushion itself is firm but soft to the touch, not lumpy or rough to sit upon. It does not sink under body weight or shift around like other cushions or seat covers do, thanks to the securing belt. For most users, the placement of the hook is in the ideal spot, between the legs without riding up.
The Tummy Shield should withstand the force of the belt being yanked in an accident, as that’s a defining factor of the product. While we didn’t test that, the company claims that hundreds of successful crash tests prove the Tummy Shield complies with safety standards.
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Instructions & Learning to Use Product
Installation of the Tummy Shield is quite easy.
- Place the Tummy Shield on the car seat—either the driver or front passenger—and wrap the attached belt around the seat, buckling it in the back.
- Add the Velcro-adhered extender cushion if you need more space between your groin and the steel hook.
- Thread the lower strap of the seatbelt through the anchor and buckle the latch as normal.
- You can leave the Tummy Shield in the car between uses.
Step-by-step instructions are printed both on the packaging box and an over-sized fabric tag on the cushion itself. The directions include pictures and clarifications of improper installation. After you install it once, you likely won’t need to read them again, but it’s nice that they’re permanently attached if you ever gift it or sell it.
Overall Assessment: Does It Do What It Claims?
Admittedly, I might not be the ideal candidate or intended customer for this product, so I lent the Tummy Shield to multiple coworkers at different sizes and stages of pregnancy. Gathering their varying reactions to the product and using it, I’ve made the general assessment that while the Tummy Shield is an important safety product, certain factors will impact each user’s experience differently.
- Height: It takes time for users to adjust to the change in perspective sitting up higher, and that extra inch might be enough for your head to hit the ceiling.
- Climate: If the weather is cold, the steel anchor will feel extremely cold to the touch, even through pants. Also, it blocks the heated seat warmers from reaching your bum.
- Body Shape: If you’re excessively overweight or are unable to spread your legs, there may not be enough room for the anchor to work.
- Car Seat: The Tummy Shield only works in the front seats, not in the back seats or such bench seating. Also, it’s a neutral colored fabric, so it does not match colorful or leather seats.
- Seatbelt Length: Because the Tummy Shield unwinds the seatbelt further than usual, it has a tendency to lock up, restricting movement and mobility.
- Clothing: The positioning of the seatbelt through the legs makes it difficult to wear a long dress and use the product.
Few products on today’s market are built on safety needs rather than comfort or convenience. It’s hard to convince drivers to follow preventative safety measures like wearing seatbelts at all, and paying even more for a product you’ll use for less than a year isn’t easy.
A product like Tummy Shield might not strike you as necessary–after all, you could simply tuck the seatbelt under your round belly. While that’s a fine solution for the 99% of the time when you’re safely driving, one accident could change everything. Were something tragic to happen, it would be too late.
The Tummy Shield is a noble and important invention that isn’t just a “car gadget” but brilliantly reworks the seatbelt to make it safer and more secure for pregnant mothers and their unborn children. Granted, it’s a short purchase for a lot of money, but so is 90% of what you buy for your baby.
The one recurring issue was the seatbelt’s tendency to lock up from being over-extended, and it’s a real pain to unbuckle, unwrap, and rebuckle when it happens. I would recommend investing in a seatbelt extender if you desire a bit more flexibility and movement while buckled.
Tummy Shield is available in the USA through Safe Ride 4 Kids on its website and through Amazon.
Product provided for review by distributor.
- Aaron WidmarSenior Editor
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing... See more articles by Aaron.