Buckle up – Road Safety starts with You

Child safety seats save lives. (photo credit from http://guanabee.com/)
Child safety seats save lives. (photo credit from http://guanabee.com/)

There are laws requiring motorists to buckle up, and though we know that seat belts save lives, many people still don’t make it a habit to buckle up.

If you don’t click it very time, now is the time to start. Not wearing your seat belt puts your health and life in danger. Wearing your seat belt  every time you’re in vehicle greatly reduces the of  risk of death and injury, not to mention serious and costly medical injuries that would occur if you get  into a vehicular accidents. Approximately 35,000 people die in motor vehicle crashes each year. About 50 percent (17,000) of these people could be saved if they wore their safety belts.

Here are a few things you should remember every time you hop on any vehicle:

Buckling up is the easiest but the most effective measure you can do to protect yourself in case a crash happens.  Whether you are the driver or the passenger, seat belts are your best defense against unpredictable actions against impaired, aggressive, distracted and drunk drivers.

Air bags are designed to work as additional precaution to seat belts, not to replace them. If you don’t wear your seat belt, you could be thrown into a rapidly opening air  bag in the front seats which open with such force to hold off or repel an expected from throwing off the dashboard, or  worse, outside the front windshield. It could injure or even kill you.

Our rib cage and our pelvis are more able to to withstand crash forces compared to other parts of our body. Wear both the shoulder strap and the lap belt.Do not place the shoulder strap behind you or under your arm. The lap belt might prevent you from being ejected, but it won’t prevent your head or upper body from hitting the dashboard or steering wheel. A shoulder harness worn alone won’t prevent you from sliding out beneath it.  To buckle up safely,the shoulder belt should go across the middle of our chest and away from our neck. Adjust the lap belt across your hips below your stomach. To make sure that it is fastened correctly, give the seat belt a gentle tug.

A common cause of death and injury to children in motor vehicles is being crushed by adults who are not wearing safety belts. On out of four serious injuries to passengers is caused by occupants being thrown into each other.

If you’re buying a new car, check to see that  its seat belts are a good fit for you. Ask your dealer about seat belt adjusters if your need a better fit. If you drive an older car with lap belts only, check with the manufacturer about how to equip your car with safer seat belts.

Protect everyone. Children should always be secured in child safety seats. Select a car based  on your child’s age  and size and choose  seat that fits your car. Use it all the time. Children under one year of age should always be placed in rear-facing car seats.

Child safety seats save lives. (photo credit from http://guanabee.com/)
Child safety seats save lives. (photo credit from http://guanabee.com/)

At least  80 out of 100  children who die in motor vehicle crashes would have survived if they were properly secured in an approved child safety seat or safety belts.  Check the car’s  seat height and weight limits to make sure that it is the right size for your child.  Children about 8-12 years old and with the height of  4’9″ should still be in car seats.  After that, they should be properly seated with a lap and shoulder belt.  Children younger than 12 years old should remain in the rear seat.  All passengers should wear lap and shoulder belts at all times.

Vehicles should be equipped with special metal  anchors (known as  LATCH –Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children in the US,  ISOFIX in Europe and LUAS -Lower Universal Anchorage System in Canada)  designed to secure a child’s safety seat inside the card. Adults need to follow manufacturer’s instructions and secure seats properly before every trip. Always read the car’s owner manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or these special anchors.

If you’re pregnant, it is important that you and your unborn child buckle up the right way too. Place the lap belt under your belly across the hips, and the shoulder harness should be between the breasts and to the side of the belly.

Whatever the distance or speed you’re travelling, safety belts should be fastened before traveling.  Accidents and injuries do not only happen in long road trips, most of the recorded injuries have happened 25 miles away from home. More than half of all injury-producing motor vehicle crashes involve low speeds under 40 m.p.h.

Road safety can start even with the most minute effort and you can do your share by simply buckling up.

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