Do you know the importance of seat belt safety for kids?
Why are seat belts important even for babies and kids while travelling?
How do seat belts save lives?
Can you and your child share a seat belt?
Babies don’t require a seat belt right?
Have these questions popping up in your mind after reading the title of the post? Wait!
I bring to you the comprehensive guide on seat belt safety for babies, kids and adults.
Lots of men, women, children and unborn babies die each and every day because of car crashes. In most of these cases, death and serious injuries could have been prevented. Yes, seat belts make a big difference and most importantly not wearing seat belts could cost you your life.
As you know these life saver belts could have saved those lives if they could have worn the seat belts while travelling in car.
A person who is not wearing a seat belt is more likely to suffer more injury than those wearing it. So buckling up is the most essential and simplest way of protecting yourself and your dear ones from unexpected car crashes.
Doesn’t your child deserve as much care and safety as you can possibly give them?
Yes, right? So apart from you, even your child needs to be buckled up.
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What happens during a crash?
This aftermath of a crash depends on the type of vehicle, speed at which you were travelling, the place where you were sitting in the car, whether or not you were wearing a seat belt, presence or absence of airbags etc.
If you are travelling in a car and haven’t worn a seat belt, that would result in you moving at the speed at which the vehicle was travelling and you colliding with something at that speed. I don’t have to explain how bad that can be.
How seat belts protect you during an unexpected car crash?
Seat belts are designed in such a way so as to stretch with us and distribute the crash forces evenly over our body. Thus seat belts can significantly reduce the speed of you hitting your own head and body on the interior of the vehicle or other people traveling with you in the car.
What happens if you are not wearing seat belt while traveling in a car?
If you are travelling without wearing a seat belt, when your car stops suddenly in an emergency, your body will keep moving until you hit either the seat in front of you or windscreen or the dashboard.
If you were travelling at a high speed, then you may even get thrown out of the car and land on the road outside and get injured quite seriously.
What happens if my child is not buckled up?
We would never think of anything happening to us. But the truth is that we don’t know how long we will be around to protect them!
Till the time we are, let us do our bit for the safety of our kids.
I know that most of us travel with our kids in cars and other vehicles by sometimes allowing them to kneel or stand on car seats.
Unfortunately, India doesn’t have laws that make it mandatory for kids to use child seats or seat belts. So at times, they stand by facing the back windscreen or the side windows.
We do that because most kids hate sitting still, buckled up. They do not understand the concept of safety and think seat belts are a way of curtailing their freedom. So we give in to their tantrums.
Never ever encourage your kids to follow these unsafe practices.
A child without a seat belt will also move at the speed of vehicles traveling at the time of the crash. Thus he or she will bump into the windscreen or any other objects with considerable force of 30 times of his or her body weight.
You can only imagine what will happen to a person, if they hit something with that much force!!!
I am not trying to scare you; but chances are there even the child is thrown out onto the road through the car door or windscreen.
Is it safe for your child to travel in your lap or any elderly person’s lap?
It is a very common practice, while travelling; we often let the child sit on our laps.
No, letting your child sit on your or any other’s lap while travelling in a vehicle is an extremely risky thing to do.
This is because the child would get crushed by the mom’s body / the body of the person on whose lap he/she was sitting on as they move forward by the force of the crash. The child may also get crushed between the exploding airbag and one’s body.
If the child is sitting behind then the child will get crushed between the adult’s body on whose lap the child was sitting and the back of the seat.
While travelling we do not give our child’s safety much importance.
If there are guests, the child gets to travel on the lap of one of the adults. We do not realise how dangerous this is. So kindly avoid this and let the child sit on his seat secured with a seat belt.
Is it okay if rear-seated passengers don’t wear a seatbelt?
No, a rear seated passenger should also wear a seat belt.
If he/she doesn’t wear a seat belt, he/she will be putting themselves at risk. It will also become a threat to his/her co passengers who have worn their seat belts.
What happens is that, on collision this rear seated passenger will move forward into the front seated person with a force ranging 30 to 60 times his or her body weight. If the collision is from the side then the passenger would collide into the person sitting next to him/her.
I saw a dashboard footage from a taxi that shows how a sudden crash affects the people inside.
In this case, a man flew off his seat and landed back on his toddler. It was scary and I was scared to even imagine what happened afterwards or how the crash affected them, especially the child. This could have been avoided had they been wearing seatbelts.
Can you share your seat belt with your baby or child?
The answer to this question is also – NO.
Particularly do not share a seatbelt by keeping your child on your lap. As I mentioned earlier, during a sudden stop or crash, the weight of the mom’s body will crush the child.
You can also read the 10 step guide on tackling motion sickness in children.
Safety guidelines for ensuring seat belt safety for kids:
Here are a few guidelines to ensure safety of kids while travelling.
What are child safety seats?
Child safety seats are those seats specifically designed for kids to give them protection from crash injuries. They are often classified into ‘stages’ according to the child’s weight and age.
Convertible car seats are also available and can be used in many stages.
You should always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to find a perfect fitting seat for your vehicle and for your child.
Where should you place the child safety seat in your car?
Child safety seats should never be placed in the front seat of a car. It is due to the proximity to the airbag.
The exploding airbag force can cause very serious injury to a child seated in the front seat with or without child safety seat. In fact, the car seats manuals clearly mention where and how to fix the child safety seat.
Always install the child safety seat in the back seat of your car.
Classifications of child safety seats:
There is a vast range of child safety seats available in market.
While buying a child safety seat, an important point to consider is whether the seat you have selected is apt for your child’s weight and size. You should choose the one that fits your car.
Avoid buying a child safety seat online! This might seem easy and hassle free. But you might end up buying a seat that doesn’t suit your requirements or your car.
- Stage 1 – Rear facing seats
Rear facing seats are ideal for new-borns and kids up to 2 years.
The 2 types of rear-facing seat available are:
- Infant-only child safety seats – can accommodate infants up to 15 kg
- Rear-facing convertible child safety seats – can accommodate infants up to 18 kg
- Stage 2 –Forward-facing safety seats with a five-point harness
Forward facing safety seats are best suited for toddlers of 2 – 4 years.
There are 2 types of forward-facing seat:
- Convertible child safety seats – A convertible child safety seat can be used rear-facing then turned forward.
- Combination seats – These types of seats come in two varieties. One with harness and the other without.
The ones with harness are suitable for kids between 18- 40 kilos. The ones without the harness can be used as a booster for children whose weight is between 36- 55 kilos.
Child safety seats have a five-point harness (five belts) or three-point harness (y shaped belt). The harness is used to hold the child firmly on to the seat.
If the harness is very loose to hold your child firmly onto the seat, then in the event of a crash, there is a chance of getting injuries to your child. The harness should always fit tight.
There should always be a gap of one or two fingers between the harness and your child’s chest at the collar bone position.
Avoid any bulky dress for your child while buckling up, this would cause suffocation and will also hamper the effectiveness of the seat belt.
- Stage 3 – Booster safety seats
The booster safety seats are suitable for kids between the ages of 4 -8 years (36 kg or 145 cm tall).
- Stage 4 – Adult seat belt
Adult seat belts are for children who are between the age group of 8-12 years (145 cm tall).
Seat belt safety during pregnancy stage
As you all know an unborn baby’s protection is always his or her mother’s womb. Now, you have the additional responsibility of ensuring safety in the car. Hence I would like to add the “pregnancy stage” here despite the fact that it does not fall under child safety seat category.
Kindly follow these simple guidelines while travelling during the pregnancy phase.
- Always push your seat fully backwards, away from the steering wheel if you are driving.
- Wear your seat belt tightly.
- Put the diagonal strap of the seat belt (sash part of the belt) over the centre of the chest (between the breasts) with the strap resting over the shoulder.
- Put the horizontal part of the belt (the portion of the belt that goes over your lap) flat on the thighs by fitting it over the pelvis and not across the abdomen.
A lot people view seat belts as an inconvenience. Like helmets, seat belts are also not considered ‘cool’ by some.
Vehicle manufacturers have come up with a feature that causes your car to beep if the driver has not fastened his seat belt. In some places it is mandatory for the passenger sitting in the front seat to buckle up. But people find loop holes in these by keeping the seat belts fastened over the seat.
What we don’t realize is that seat belts are necessary for our safety. If we do not use seat belts, then we are teaching our kids the wrong thing.
You can drive safely and reduce the crash injuries by following car safety restraints.
I am not saying that a crash will keep you completely immune to any accident. At times, the accident can be bad and you might sustain injuries but a seat belt will ensure that the severity of the injury is less.
In conclusion, I would like to finish by saying that “seat belts are invented and designed only for your protection and not for comfort”
Guys drive safe with your SEAT BELTS ON. Always be on the safe side for it could mean the difference between life and death.
Do you use a seat belt while travelling? Do you ensure that your child is also secured safely on his or her car seat?
How do you ensure seat belt safety for kids?
At times kids do not like sitting on their seats, so how do you get them to sit?
Moms, hope you found the answer to why you should wear a seat belt?
If you have any more doubts, questions or tips, please share with me in comments. I would love to hear from you.