THE PROPER USE OF SEATBELTS
When an accident occurs, the car comes to a sudden stop, but the driver and passengers keep moving. Thus seatbelts are critical to keep drivers and passengers in place to prevent them from colliding with the interior of the car. Barring a malfunction or manufacturer defect, seatbelts that are worn properly do their job very well and have saved countless lives. At the same time, seatbelts that are too tight or placed improperly across the body can cause injuries of their own. And, unfortunately, even seatbelts that are working properly and fastened correctly can cause injuries in some circumstances.
Most seatbelt injuries are just minor bruises and scrapes. In more severe cases, lap belts may cause injuries to the abdomen and spinal column, and shoulder straps may cause injuries to the shoulder, neck, and chest. These injuries may include sciatica, herniated or bulging discs, broken ribs, a fractured sternum, and even internal bleeding.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, you can minimize your risk of sustaining these types of injuries by making sure your seatbelts are in good working order and that they are being worn properly as follows:
• The shoulder strap should be worn away from the neck across the middle of the chest.
• The lap belt should be worn across the hips and below the stomach.
• The shoulder strap should never be placed behind the back or under the arm.
• The seatbelt should never be uncomfortably tight or too loose.
Remember, you should always wear a seatbelt when in a moving vehicle. Your very life may depend on it.
For more information on seatbelt safety, go to to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website at www.nhtsa.gov. And if you are in an accident, come to one of our conveniently located Accident and Injury Chiropractic clinics where we treat all kinds of injuries—including those caused by seatbelts.