Surprisingly, if a pregnant woman is involved in a road accident, her “upholstered” belly has been found to reduce the risk of serious injury and even death. If the woman was the driver, she was even more protected by the amniotic fluid in her womb. This was the recent finding of a retrospective study conducted at the trauma unit Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin.Doctors at the unit wanted to know whether pregnant women hospitalized after road accidents should be treated and monitored differently than women who were not carrying a fetus. They were surprised by the results of tests conducted by Prof. Boris Kessel, who heads the unit, and Dr. Netanella Miller, who worked with him. The current policy is to hospitalize every pregnant woman for examination and follow up, even those with very minor injuries. Lightly injured women who are not pregnant are usually not hospitalized at all. For the study Kessel and Miller compared the cases of 3,794 pregnant women with a control group of 3,441 non-pregnant women, all of whom had been admitted to trauma wards in the country’s hospitals following accidents between 2006 and 2013. Their ages ranged from 18 to 40.“The results were very different from what we expected,” said Kessel. “We found that the vast majority of hospitalizations were unnecessary, as neither the woman nor the fetus was injured.”The team found that most of the women in the pregnant group had been driving prior to their accidents.Only one percent were more than mildly injured compared to 29% of the non-pregnant women. The injuries of the pregnant women drivers were significantly lower than those of the pregnant women who had been passengers and not behind the steering wheel.Of those who suffered moderate and severe injuries, only 1.3% were pregnant compared to 29% who were not.Only 0.3% of those who died during the study were pregnant – a figure significantly below that given in the foreign medical literature. Only 1% of the pregnant women involved in a road accident had to undergo an abortion.“In the simplest words, according to the data, it’s preferable that if a woman is hurt in a car, that she be pregnant and driving,” said Kessel.The explanation offered by the researchers is that pregnant women have a larger volume of blood, hearts that pump blood better and a large uterus that protects the stomach and pelvis. The trauma expert said more research, however, is needed, because the large womb may mean it’s harder to identify acute internal injuries. In the meantime, trauma unit hospitalization of car accident victims has not yet been changed.HUGE SAVINGS, THANKS TO YAD SARAH Yad Sarah saves the public coffers some $400 million in hospitalization each year, according to end-year statistics collected by the voluntary organization, which has 6,000 volunteers and 104 branches around the country lending out medical equipment and providing a large variety of other services to the sick, disabled, elderly and lonely. If the volunteers had to be paid, salaries would total NIS 30m., or 43% of its annual budget.The organization will soon dedicate a new visitors’ center at its Jerusalem headquarters to promote the idea of voluntarism in the young generation.Rabbi Uri Lupolianski, the founder and president of Yad Sarah, said that volunteers are of all religions and ethnic groups and ages and have experience as professionals, educators, technicians and laborers.“Volunteers fill all levels of management and are part of decision making, suggesting creative ideas for the further development of services,” he said.PUNISHING KIDS FOR LYING DOESN’T WORK Children are more likely to tell the truth either to please an adult or because they believe it is the right thing to do; if you want your child to tell the truth, it’s best not to threaten to punish them if they lie.That’s what Canadian researchers discovered through a simple experiment involving 372 children between the ages of four and eight.The researchers, led by Prof. Victoria Talwar of McGill University’s department of educational and counseling psychology, left each child alone in a room for one minute with a toy behind them on a table, having told the child not to peek during their absence. While they were out of the room, a hidden video camera filmed what went on.When the researchers returned, they asked the child a simple question: “When I was gone, did you peek at the toy?” What the researchers discovered was that slightly more than two-thirds of the children peeked. For every one-month increase in age, children became slightly less likely to peek.When the children were asked whether or not they had peeked, again about 66% of them lied – and month-bymonth as children aged, they both become more likely to tell lies and more adept at maintaining their lies.The researchers also found that kids were less likely to tell the truth if they were afraid of being punished than if they were asked to tell the truth either because it would please the adult – or because it was the right thing to do and would make the child feel good.The researchers expected and found that while younger children were more focused on telling the truth to please the adults, the older children had better internalized standards of behavior that made them tell the truth because it was the right thing to do.“The bottom line is that punishment does not promote truth-telling,” said lead researcher Victoria Talwar. “In fact, the threat of punishment can have the reverse effect by reducing the likelihood that children will tell the truth when encouraged to do so. This is useful information for all parents of young children and for the professionals like teachers who work with them and want to encourage young children to be honest,” she concluded.