Every year hundreds of children lose their lives in traffic accidents, with thousands more being injured. While it is true that safety belts save countless lives, there are still other practices that should be enforced to keep your children safe!
What happens during a car crash?
When you are in a car accident the force of the vehicles colliding produces inertia, which passes the impact of the crash into the car and into us. This hurls our bodies about, producing huge forces especially on our spines and necks. When we are hit from behind it knocks our heads forward and then it recoils backwards, and this backward movement is what produces a whiplash! Collisions from the side can be even more damaging.
What can I do to keep my child safe?
- Wear a safety belt – It may almost go without saying, but wearing a safety belt is vital. Safety belts prevent us from any harmful movements that could lead us to injury. They highly reduce the likelihood of death, prevent secondary impacts and maximise the effectiveness of airbags. Make sure they wear them properly, with the lap belt over the thighs and the shoulder belt across the shoulder and chest (not under the arm!)
- Teach children the importance of using it and ACT BY EXAMPLE! This will positively train their subconscious brain so that they wear a belt instinctively and will then tell their friends to do it too!
- Keep them sitting upright! This affects the effectiveness of the safety belt and promotes good posture
What about a baby car seat?
- Use a booster seat. It seems obvious but some parents still allow their children to ride without one
- Make sure the car seat is attached securely into the car, ensuring it cannot move more than one inch to the left or right
- Keep the harness snug on your child. While you want your child to be able to breath (not too tight!) you also don’t want them to have too much movement. If you can pinch the fabric of the harness between two fingers, its too loose
- All children should be rear facing until they are 2 years old. Also ensure they aren’t at an angle. Collisions at any angle are much more damaging
- Ensure the retainer clip is at armpit level resting across the breastbone. If in the wrong place the straps could slip, risking ejection from the seat in the case of an accident. Also consult the product information to ensure the straps are in the right slots.
Use the above tips to help keep your loved ones safe and prevent injuries, as prevention is always more effective than any treatment. Remember that pain is not the only way that we should listen to our body, and a lack of pain is not the only indicator we are healthy. If you do get into an accident, even if wearing a seat belt correctly, ensure to visit a Chiropractor so that they can check the body for any issues and help you achieve the best health possible.