“Buckle up for safety” and “Click it or ticket.” These catchphrases often go in one ear and out the other. Don’t become a statistic that is used to illustrate the need for seatbelts. Approximately 88 percent of Americans are buckling up, but that leaves 12 percent in needless danger. Those who don’t buckle up often fall into one of these categories: teenagers, commercial, truck, or rural drivers, night drivers, and drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Why wear it? The risk of crash injuries is cut in half when someone is wearing a seatbelt. Of people killed in car-related accidents in 2007, 42 percent were not wearing a seatbelt. Studies show that thousands of deaths and injuries could be prevented each year if drivers or passengers wear seatbelts.
In Florida, seatbelts are required by law. Hefty fines and other penalties are being given frequently to raise awareness for the need to wear them.
What is the right way to buckle up? You should wear your lap belt low and over your hips. If there is a shoulder strap, it should cross your chest at a comfortable level. Do not put the strap behind you for comfort. If the car does not have a seatbelt level adjuster, there are booster seats for children or strap adjusters you can clip on to make the belt fit properly.
What about kids? All babies should be in backward-facing car seats secured in the back middle seat until age two or they reach the individual seat’s limit (usually 30 to 40 pounds). Children should then ride in a properly sized car seat facing forward until they outgrow the seat’s harness or reach the maximum weight limit, which can range from 50 to even 100 pounds, depending on the specific model. Children should use a booster seat along with the regular car safety belt until their knees can bend over the edge of the seat and the belt fits along their waist and across their chest.
When should I use it? Anytime you get in the car, you should engage your safety belt. Even a parked car can be involved in an accident. Whether you are just moving the car into the driveway or heading across the country, make it a habit to buckle up.
Safety belts may cramp your style or crush your lapels, but it’s a small price to pay for your life. Join the 88 percent of people around you by clicking that seatbelt each and every time. Let’s strive together for 100 percent participation in seatbelt safety!
Although it’s likely the last place you want to be, not wearing your seat belt can easily land you in the emergency room with severe injuries. Here at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, we are prepared for all emergencies. To find out more about our services, visit us online or call us at (727) 819-2929.
Car Seat Safety Tips (Safe Kids USA)
Seatbelts (National Safety Council)