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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Injury Prevention - Road Safety - Seat Belts

"But I'm only going to the store!"
 
Most people these days buckle up when they get into a car for a long trip. But, for some reason some of these people don't when they are going short distances, for example to the grocery store. Studies have shown that most car crashes occur close to home and at speeds less the 65 km/h. This may not seem that fast, but it's enough to cause serious injury to you or your passengers. This is why it's very important to buckle up every time you get into the car and to make sure that your passengers are secure as well - not to mention; in Ontario it's the law.
 
The Ontario Road Safety Annual Report 2001, states that about one third of fatally injured drivers were not wearing their seat belts at the time of their crash.
 



"The shoulder belt rubs on my neck, so I put it under my arm!"

 

Like bicycle helmets, it's not enough to wear your seat belt. It must be worn properly in order to give you maximum protection. "The shoulder belt should fit snugly to the body, over the shoulder- never under the arm since this could crush ribs and injure internal organs. The lap belt should be firm against the body and low over the hips, not against the stomach (MTO)."
 



"I don't like feeling trapped!"

 

Seat belts are meant to keep you securely in your vehicle at all times. They can stop you from being thrown out of the car during a crash and prevent you from jerking forward and crushing your chest against the dashboard. This is especially important in the backseat. An unrestrained backseat passenger can cause serious injury and even death to someone in the front seat, even a child. Many people fear that if they are restrained and their car catches on fire or crashes into a lake they could lose precious escape time. But, in reality "less then one half of one percent of all injury causing crashes occur like this (MTO)", and a seatbelt would keep you uninjured in the initial crash in order for you to be unhurt and alert enough to escape the situation.
 



Pregnancy and Seat Belts


MTO recommends all pregnant women wear their seatbelts every time they get into a vehicle. Protecting mom provides the best protection for baby. Moms should always wear both the shoulder belt and lap belt. The lap belt should be worn down on the hips and pelvic bone and not across the abdomen.
 



Children and Seat Belts


In Ontario, the driver is responsible for making sure any child less than 16 years of age is buckled up. Not doing so can result in a hefty fine and demerit points. Never buckle more then one person in a belt. Bodies and heads can bang together causing serious injuries.
 



What about Taxis?


Taxi companies are required to make sure they have working seat belts in their vehicles, but it is your responsibility to make sure you use them and that your children are buckled in.
 



More information:





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Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
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