Doctors warnings over seatbelts and kids

Doctors are warning that poor car restraints can actually increase the chance of spinal injuries in children involved in an accident instead of helping to protect them.  In particular, children in the backseat of a vehicle that is equipped with only a lap belt, instead of in a child seat or with a full harness, has a much higher risk of sustaining spinal injuries if involved in a motor incident.

The Irish Medical Journal suggested that a child has a three times higher risk of spinal injury if they are only restrained with a lap belt.  The risk of serious head injuries also increases by about four times.

While most parents to use a full harness seatbelt or booster seats, the few that do not are placing their children at risk.  Many people choose not to use the full seat belt because it can ride up onto the face of the child.  However, adapted seat belts, child seats, and booster cushions can be used until a child properly fits into the seat restraint and increases their safety overall.

The findings from the Irish study coincide with a study that was previously conducted in Canada that stated almost 25% of Lap Belt Syndrome cases ended with a child facing life as a paraplegic.

The injuries that are sustained when a car suddenly stops cause the child to jerk forward violently against the lap belt compressing the organs in the abdomen because of where the belt is located.  This forces the spine to sustain the hit at the upper lumbar area instead of the hips which causes damage to the abdomen and spine.

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