Seatbelts are designed to keep you securely in your seat in the case of a car accident. With this in mind car manufacturers design cars to crumple around you and reduce the forces involved in a crash - that lessens your risk of an injury.
Adult seat belts are designed for people who are more than 1.5m in height.
The below information has been taken from www.crash.je
Anyone less than this height tends to find the seat belt rubbing against the side of their neck and the lap part of the belt tends to lie across the stomach instead of the hips and pelvic area. The ‘Think campaign’ and RoSPA both now advise parents to ensure their children use a booster cushion for older children up to the age of 10 or 11 depending on their height. (This is now Law in the United Kingdom and the EU).
Because of the belt rubbing against the neck, children tend to place the diagonal part of the seat belt either behind their back or under the arm that would normally be under the belt, this has the effect on the diagonal part of the belt now being positioned over the stomach and rib area of the body. Occasionally the diagonal is left rubbing against the neck.
In a collision at 30mph it is estimated that an unrestrained occupant is thrown forward with a force equal to 30 to 60 times its own body weight.
The ‘Think campaign’ estimates the average body weight to be in the region of 3.5 tonnes. (Source Department of Transport dft)
Should a car occupant place the diagonal part of the seat belt around their back to improve comfort, then all the above forces in a crash will be placed around the stomach area, rather than hip and pelvic area (particularly in the case of undersized children) with the possibility of incurring serious internal injuries. If the diagonal part of the belt is placed under the arm then the above forces will be focused against the ribs and stomach, again with the possibility of causing serious injuries. When left rubbing against the neck, throat and neck injuries may than occur.
Remember seatbelts are the best life saving design in the car.
- They keep you secure in one place.
- If you do not wear a seatbelt in the back of a car you are 30 times more likely to be thrown out through a window or door.
- If you are thrown out of a car you have up to a 75% chance of dying.