As a chiropractor public safety is very important to me. I relate to and understand what car accidents can do to people. Seat belts are a major cause of whiplash in my opinion, but I’d rather treat a person for whiplash than have to attend their funeral, and so I support the use of seat belts. Our cars have many safety features designed into them. It is important that we use them properly so that we are safer for using them.
A few summers ago Utah’s legislature updated it’s car seat laws. My daughter was very disappointed. She was getting ready to move out of her booster seat to a regular seat belt. She was so excited. But then she had to grow an extra inch or two or wait a few more months.
The basics of the new law are this; any child under the age of 8 unless 4’9″ or taller must be in a child safety seat appropriate for their age/size. I wish that this kind of thing didn’t require a law. Every child is precious and should be protected. I know that every person is different, and some children might not need the seat, but if you have to make a rule then the line has to be drawn somewhere. Sometimes these lines are arbitrary and sometimes they are based on actual research.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children in the USA. Proper restraints cut that risk by 60%. To make sure you are using them properly, there are many resources; this IIHS site even has video, or the Utah Safety Council. If you’re not sure how to buckle your kids properly bring them in. I’d be happy to go over the manufacturers recommendations and walk you through a checklist. Also, I know that most police stations will have an officer that will check your installation. The Orem Police Station had an officer check our car seats and explain how to properly buckle up our children. Call your local police station to find out if they have a similar program.
For adults it is important to use the safety features designed into your car as well. Adjusting your headrest properly will reduce the effect of whiplash if you get in an accident. Also, wearing your seat belt at your hips rather than your waist reduces abdominal or back injury.
Make sure that you and your children are as safe as can be in your cars. Please buckle up.