You may have heard of seat belt syndrome before in relation to child car safety, but you may not be sure what causes it or how it can be prevented. Here’s a helpful breakdown of what it is, what causes it and how to prevent it:
What is it?
Seat belt syndrome is a group of injuries relating to injuries in a crash which have been sustained through improper seat belt use. Many injuries can be presented by this term, which often sees the wearer jack-knife over the lap belt upon impact, putting a massive force onto the abdomen and often leading to the head colliding with the passenger seat.
This can cause a number of injuries ranging from internal bleeding to a lacerated liver, ruptured bladder or even broken neck. Not all injuries present themselves on impact, and unfortunately sustaining one or more of these injuries through ill-fitting belts is not an uncommon occurrence, which is why the medical community has dubbed it ‘seat belt syndrome.’
What causes it?
Put simply, seat belt syndrome is caused by children being improperly restrained in their seats. It can also affect adults who are not properly restrained by their belts either. Children are far more susceptible to this as seat belts are designed for fully-grown adults, so don’t really fit a child properly until they reach around 12 years old or 135cm (about 4’6”). This is why children in the UK are, by law, required to be restrained by a car seat or booster until they meet either the height or age requirement. However, the car seat alone is not enough to prevent this, as even with the protection from the seat, your child may still not be properly restrained by the belt which is quick to slip off the shoulder of young children. Whether your child has moved the belt under their arm, wriggled around so that the belt has slid off the shoulder, or moved the lower section so it is placed on their abdomen rather than lap, your child could be at risk of sustaining a seat belt syndrome injury in a crash.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent all car accidents from happening, but there are safety devices you can use in tandem to ensure your child is protected as best they can be in case of a crash. One of the main aims of the huggybelt is to try and prevent seat belt syndrome, thanks to its restraining technique. By fixing on to your standard 3-point seat belt and holding your child in place from behind, the huggybelt combats the problem of the belt slipping off shoulders or being removed by your child. It’s also easily adjustable so you can move the restraint as your child grows. There’s also a cushioned edge to ensure no discomfort to your child around the neck – one of the most irritating problems for children, and a major reason they seek to move the belt.
Huggybelt is not only used in addition to a standard seat belt, but can also be used with almost all Group 2 and 3 car seats. This means your child can still benefit from the comfort and restraint a car seat offers, whilst adding extra seat belt protection.
At huggybelt, we believe your child’s safety isn’t expensive – it’s priceless. By offering this simple and portable product which can easily be switched from seat to seat, car to car, we hope to protect more children from the horrendous injuries which fall under the category of seat belt syndrome. For safer kids on the move, protect your child as much as you can with safety equipment that works together in the event of an accident.