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Wednesday, August 04, 2004
The One With the Safety Belt 

Last Saturday evening, a mother and her 4 kids, along with her maid was on their way to Port Dickson. Her husband had to go his office earlier and was unable to join the family. She was driving (within speed limit) in the middle lane along KESAS (from Shah Alam), when she decided to overtake the vehicle upfront. Unable to foresee what was next to happen, a trailer from the opposite site hit the divider and was in the fast lane. Not being able to turn left as another vehicle was there, she had to run into the trailer. Also, being in the fast lane, another car from behind her hit her hard. She lost her 3 year old daughter in this tragic incident. It seems that her daughter was seated on her maid's lap and they were both strapped with a safety belt. Her child and maid both suffered internal injuries due to the safety belt impact. Her other 3 kids were seated in the carseats and strapped with the car's safety belt.

It was said that if a safety belt is meant for only one adult. For kids, it is best to use car seats. Again, children is advised to be sitted differently according to their weight; ie rear facing etc. Also, if a child is sitted on an adult's lap, it is best that the adult holds her tightly, and not strapped together in a safety belt.

Quick Safety Seat Checkup Tips

Does your child ride in the back seat? The back seat is generally the safest place in a crash. If your vehicle has a passenger air bag, it is essential for children 12 and under to ride in back.

Does your child ride facing the right way? Infants should ride in rear facing restraints (in the back seat) until age 1 and at least 20-22 lbs. Infants who weigh 20 lbs. before 1 year of age should ride in a restraint approved for higher rear facing weights. Always read your child restraint manual for instructions on properly using the restraint. Children over age one and at least 20 pounds may ride facing forward.

Does the safety belt hold the seat tightly in place? Put the belt through the correct slots. If your safety seat can be used facing either way, use the correct belt path for each direction. Check the vehicle owner's manual and safety seat instruction book for guidance.

Is the harness buckled snugly around your child? Keep harness straps snug over the child's shoulders. Place the chest clip at armpit level.

Does your child over 40 pounds have the best protection possible? Keep your child in a safety seat with a full harness as long as possible, at least until 40 pounds. Then use a belt-positioning booster seat which helps the adult lap and shoulder belt fit better. A belt-positioning booster seat is preferred for children between 40-80 pounds. It is used with the adult lap and shoulder belt.

How should a safety belt fit an older child? The child should be tall enough to sit without slouching, with knees bent at the edge of the seat, with feet on the floor. The lap belt must fit low and tight across the upper thighs. The shoulder belt should rest over the shoulder and across the chest. Never put the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the child's back. The adult lap and shoulder belt system alone will not fit most children until they are at least 4'9" tall and weigh about 80 pounds.


Check out "Which safety seat is "the best" for my child?"

*A little prayer sent to the little girl, who's in Heaven currently.





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