Seat belt injuries - how to prevent serious injury

Woman putting on seatbelt

The safety features of cars continue to improve as time goes on. However, recently our Aberdeen office have seen one of the most important safety features in a car causing more and more injuries – the seat belt.

What are the common seat belt injuries we see?

Seat belts have undoubtedly saved hundreds of lives throughout the years. However, it is important for people to understand that seat belts can also cause injury

Some of the most common seat belt injuries include:

  • The restraining force of your seat belt can often cause injury to ribs – this can either be bruised or fractured ribs;
  • The force from a sudden stop during a collision can impact your chest and sternum – this can be a very dangerous injury as the sternum is close to your heart and lungs;
  • The seat belt strap can cause a soft tissue injury to your shoulder;
  • The pressure from the accident or the force from the lap belt can effect your abdomen -  we have seen several injuries in this area including internal bleeding and hernias;
  • General bruising and cuts.

How can you prevent seat belt injuries?

Positioning your seat belt correctly is highly important and can help to prevent serious injuries. The key areas to consider are:

  • Position the shoulder belt across the middle of your chest. While it may be more comfortable, a seat belt should never be worn under the arm or behind your back. Having a seat belt in this position will not hold your body securely in place and could cause injury to your arm;
  • The top of the seat belt should fit across your shoulder and not dig in to your neck – this prevents any potential soft tissue injury and bruising to the neck;
  • Lap belts should always be positioned below your stomach at the hip/pelvis level to avoid internal injury;
  • Make sure the seat belt fits comfortably – it should not be loose enough for the passenger to move freely but equally it should not be uncomfortably tight.

Although seat belts can sometimes cause injury, they often save lives. Seat belt injuries are often minor in comparison to the injuries they help prevent.

Be sure to wear your seat belt in the correct manner at all times while travelling in any vehicle to save yourself from suffering unnecessary injuries.