At last – a seat-belt for pregnant women, and it’s invented by a Brit!

Did you know that even if you are pregnant, unless you possess a medical exemption certificate, stating that it would be unhealthy for you to wear a seat-belt, you still have to wear one? And furthermore, if you are caught not wearing one whilst you are driving, you can be hit with a fixed penalty notice for £60. Moreover, if the case goes to court, the fine for failure to wear a seat-belt can go as high as £500. And it was in fact, after a pregnant woman was prosecuted for failing to wear a seat-belt, UK inventor Stephen Weston was inspired to try and find a solution.

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The woman had not worn a belt because she was concerned it could harm her unborn foetus in the event of a crash, but despite her reasoning she was still prosecuted. Weston says that he was initially inspired by his own wife Lesley, who suggested the project to him. He said: “I was surprised there was nothing there already. But there are two problems with the ordinary seat-belt. One is the lap strap which people let ride up, and if you are in an impact it can hurt the foetus. The second is the diagonal strap where the same thing can occur. There are guidelines put out by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the police. They recommend putting the lap strap underneath the bump and the diagonal strap around the bump and between the breasts. But cars are all different shapes and sizes and so are pregnant ladies, and to try to get the seat-belt in the right position for everyone is nigh on impossible.”

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Weston set about creating a brand new pregnancy seat-belt harness, and he believes that it is the first of its kind in the world. Designed at The University of Bolton, Greater Manchester, Weston is now looking for investors to back his innovation, and he wants to go into full production. To help raise the necessary funds for the manufacture of the pregnancy seat-belt, which Weston has called The piXie Harness, his company, Technological Systems, has launched a bid on crowdcube.com. This is a forum in which private companies can advertise for investment from an individual or business, and the investors then get shares in return.

The piXie Harness is safer as it removes the diagonal strap of a standard car seat-belt away from a pregnant mothers stomach. It works by utilising the standard car seat-belt, but now the diagonal strap goes behind the wearer, where it acts as an anchor for the piXie® Harness. You then simply clip the piXie® Pregnancy Harness behind the diagonal strap of a car’s seat-belt.

With the piXie® Pregnancy Harness fitted, the wearer is now restrained by the shoulders and chest above the pregnant bump and by the lap strap below the bump.

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Weston has already had his product featured on the Discovery Channel, on BBC Radio 2’s tea time Simon Mayo show and at the 12th annual British Invention Show, and he told viewers that he spent seven years working on the design.

Weston, who lives in Bury, Greater Manchester, said: “The piXie Harness is the world’s first car seat-belt shoulder harness that completely eliminates the diagonal strap from across the wearer’s stomach. Instead, the diagonal strap is placed behind the wearer and acts as an anchor for the shoulder harness, so in a crash the baby cannot be harmed by the diagonal strap.”

Currently you can purchase the piXie® Pregnancy Harness for £199.00 with delivery charges within the UK at £3.95.

For more information go to pregnancyseatbeltharness.com

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