Wednesday, September 14, 2011

When It's Amost A Crash?

A safety colleague witnessed a "non-crash" today.  The car next to her had to go from about 30 mph to zero within seconds to avoid rear-ending another vehicle.  Even though 30 mph is not hair-raising speed, that kind of sudden stop definitely makes a loud screech and smokes the tires.  But what caught my colleague's attention was the child in the back seat of that car...

She was about 6 years old and restrained only in a lap belt (no shoulder straps, so obviously no booster). The top half of her body was thrown forward, ACROSS THE FRONT SEAT -- remember, she went from 30 mph to nothing in seconds.  Her face smashed into the dashboard and was badly bloodied (click here to see what can happen to lap belt passengers in a crash).  Read my colleague's full description here.
If she had been in a harnessed car seat or a booster, her torso would have been restrained and injury could have been avoided.

86-Y Universal Harness
It *is* possible to harness a child in a car that only has lap belts.  There is a product called the 86Y Universal Harness, and it is an ingenious way to provide safe restraint to a child.  Attach the harness to a retrofit tether bolt, and thread the lap belt through the bottom harness loops.  If your child, or one your know, rides in an older vehicle that is not equipped with shoulder belts (maybe a babysitter or a relative), please consider it.  You never know when you're going to be in an "almost-crash."

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