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Another Seat belt question

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive June 2004: Another Seat belt question
By Yjja123 on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 10:26 am:

Ok I admit it--I rarely wear a seat belt :(
Not because I do not want to but because it always goes across my throat. It was bad in my car but we just bought a small suv and it is even worse. I am 5' tall. Is there something that will adjust the strap so it goes across my chest instead of my neck? Please help!
I ALWAYS make my children wear a seat belt and feel horrible when I don't. We saw a horrible accident last weekend and a person in a suv died. I do not want that to be me.
Any/All suggestions appreciated.

By Kathy on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 10:58 am:

There are seatbelt adjusters available. I found a few different kinds:

I never used to wear a seatbelt either, but my reason was because it was broken. I was able to buckle it, but not unbuckle it and I literally was trapped in my seatbelt the few times that I *did* try to use it. So I never did. I got pulled over once and got a warning to get it fixed, which I didn't and then in 1997, I got into an accident. I got hit almost head on. I went flying into the windshield. To this day, I am still picking glass out of my forehead and I have some nice scars as a souvenir. My car with the broken seatbelt was totaled so I never drove it again...but after, I made sure that all of my seatbelts worked and not once have I driven without seatbelt.

By Marg on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 11:01 am:

Yvonne, you sound like my mom;)

She never wore seatbelts (much) until I was hit and drug (luckily I was in a Ford aerostar) by a tractor trailer (yes the whole rig and trailer). The worst thing is he wouldn't stop and my van was stuck under his trailer (flatbed).

I was in the van, dd age 3 1/2 and newborn 2 weeks old:( Very scary. We had just bought the van 3 months earlier. If I would have been in the car he would have ran over us inside the car.

Please try a seatbelt adjuster:) You'll love them once you try them. My mom did and wore her seat belt ever since we got her one.

Here is a website but you can buy them alot of places.

By Marg on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 11:02 am:

Kathy, we were thinking the same thing:)

By Trina~moderator on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 11:30 am:

Actually seat belt adjusters are not recommended by safety experts.

Taken from - Shoulder Belt Positioning Devices

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has conducted tests on three of these products, which are not regulated by any safety standard. Many similar products were not included in the tests. In addition, the manufacturers of the products tested are not obligated to revise their products or include warnings to the public based on concerns raised by test results. SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. has requested that NHTSA adopt standards for after-market products used with child restraints and vehicle safety belts, none of which are covered by existing regulations.

Excerpts from "Evaluation of Devices to Improve Shoulder Belt Fit," based on tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, published in August, 1996:

"The apparent leading motivation behind the development of these types of devices is to improve lap/shoulder belt fit… [but] the performance of the vehicle’s restraint system should not be detrimentally affected by the use of such a device. All of the devices evaluated in this study produced some degradation in the performance of the lap/shoulder belt system… With the increase in belt comfort due to OEM [vehicle] equipment, it is anticipated that the need for after market belt fit devices will decrease."

After discussing the test results with several safety experts, SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. makes the following recommendations:

1. Do not use any of these devices for children, who should use a belt-positioning booster to improve the positioning of the lap/shoulder belt and the fit of the vehicle seat. All boosters fit up to at least 60 lbs.; maximum weights vary from 60-100 lbs.
2. For short adults and children too big to fit in a booster, check the vehicle owner’s manual to find out if the shoulder belt has a movable shoulder belt anchor.
3. Try special products or home-made remedies to improve comfort without changing the position of the belt. Examples: wrap a lambs wool or velour sleeve around the shoulder belt where it touches the neck; use the collar of the occupant’s shirt or dress to keep the shoulder belt from scraping the neck; keep a small, soft towel in the car which can be used by passengers as needed.
4. Remember that the purpose of a belt-positioning device is to improve comfort, not to increase safety. The only real benefit of these products is that they may prevent some people from putting the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back. In crash tests, these devices generally did not reduce the amount of force on the neck. If you must use a shoulder belt positioning device for a teenager or adult passenger to prevent him or her from placing the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back, make sure that:

* The positioning device is made of fabric or webbing, to avoid possible injury from bent or broken parts during a crash.
* The device is connected only to the shoulder belt, not to the lap belt. Otherwise, the lap belt could be pulled upward, possibly resulting in abdominal injury.
* Minimal slack is added to shoulder portion of the belt.
* The belt is not placed near edge of shoulder, allowing upper body to be thrust out of the belt.

The complete report is available to the public from the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia 22161.

By Trina~moderator on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 11:34 am:

Yvonne, WEAR your seat belt! Not only for your safety but for the passengers in your vehicle as well. An unbelted passenger can become a deadly projectile to other occupants. I posted a video clip about this awhile back but can't find it at the moment. I'll keep digging.

By Trina~moderator on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 11:43 am:

This isn't the link I had in mind but it works. Still looking...

Strapped In For Life

By Yjja123 on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 11:43 am:

OK if I wear it as is won't I die from strangulation? It goes across my throat! If I stop real quick I feel it tighten on my throat--this cannot possibly save my life?

By Trina~moderator on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 12:21 pm:

Statistically speaking, you are much safer wearing your seat belt as it is vs. not wearing it at all. Passengers who do not wear seat belts become projectiles during a crash and are often ejected from the vehicle. VERY HIGH risk of serious injury or death in these cases.

Do not put the shoulder belt behind your back. Lap belt only positions are not safe because they don't provide upper body protection. More info:
Lap Belt Dangers

Have you checked your vehicle to see if the shoulder belt has an adjustable belt anchor? And/or try some of the suggestions listed above.

By Mommierenee on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 12:30 pm:

I didn't feel comfortable wearing my seatbelt when I was pregnant because I thought that it would hurt the baby if I was in an accident! The Dr. told me otherwise & so I wore it anyway. I did get into an accident the first time I was pregnant. I was wearing my seatbelt & thank God I didn't need it anyway.The (elderly) lady hit me on the drivers side & if you would have seen the drivers side door you would think that someone got hurt really bad! The door was all the way in the drivers seat. Do you know that the door never even touched me! Not even a little bit!! I had an angel that day looking out for me. Te paramedics wanted me to go to the hospital to check the baby, but I said "you don't understand, the car did not touch me at all" I had an appointment that day with my OB anyway, so I told him about it & everything was fine!

OK, some of that had nothing to do with what we were talking about, but just thought I'd share while I was talking about not liking my seatbelt while I was pregnant :)-

By Trina~moderator on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 03:49 pm:

Mommierenee, if there was that much damage to the body of your car you can bet your bippy your seat belt protected you and your baby. It kept you in your seating position as opposed to being ejected or bouncing around the inside of your car during the crash.

Pregnant moms should wear seat belts, too! Keep the lap belt below your belly and pull it snug.

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