Pregnant women can protect their unborn children by making sure they are properly buckled up while riding in the car.

Correct seatbelt placement could save an estimated 200 babies a year, according to recent studies.

Researchers at Virginia Tech University are working with Ford Motor Co. to determine the safest way for pregnant women to ride in the car.

They offer the following tips: • Sit as far from the steering wheel as possible to prevent the belly from hitting the steering wheel. • Wear the lap belt low across the pelvis — not over the soft belly. • Pull the belt as tight as possible without being uncomfortable. • Position the diagonal belt so it crossed the middle of the shoulders and runs down the side of the belly. —Melissa Kossler Dutton