There is a danger to kids in motor vehicles that is not widely discussed. It’s called seat belt entanglement and it can be deadly.
Children who can reach a seat belt can be strangled by pulling it all the way out and wrapping the belt around their head, neck or waist.
How does seat belt entanglement occur?
Because kids are curious creatures and easily bored, they may start playing around with the seat belt that they are belted in with, or one that has an unused shoulder belt next to them that is attached to the vehicle’s ceiling.
Most seats belts have a locking mode that is activated when the seat belt is pulled all the way out of the retractor. This is a feature designed for child seat installation. If a child pulls the seat belt all the way out and activates this feature, the seat belt will only get shorter. This is how the child can be strangled.
How can you avoid seat belt entanglement?
Here are some measures you can take to avoid your child from getting entangled in his or her seat belt.
- Be certain you properly restrain your child.
- Do not let your older child lie down or sleep on the vehicle seat, as this can activate the seat belt retraction mechanism.
- Teach your children not to play with seat belts; that they are not toys.
- Ensure that shoulder belts within reach of your child are buckled and switched to locking mode by pulling the seat belt all the way out and then tightening it so it lays flat against the seat.
- Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle.
- If a child has an unused seat belt within reach, do the following: buckle that seat belt and pull it all the way to the end without yanking. Then feed the excess belt back into the retractor. If a child seat is installed with LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for Children), complete the above steps BEFORE you install the child seat. Be sure to read your child seat and vehicle owner’s manual for installation instructions.
It is terribly unfortunate that such accidents as seat belt entanglement occur. I would strongly advise that you keep a seat belt cutter or sharp scissors in your glove compartment, in case such a frightening scenario should ever happen to your child.
Please share this article for those who could benefit from the information. Thank you.
For other areas of personal injury law, please see my other articles at http://blog.petermillerlaw.com.
If you have any questions about this article or any area of personal injury law, please refer to the contact info below.
The Law Offices of Peter Miller
1601 S. Broadway
Little Rock, AR 72206
The content of this blog was prepared by the Law Offices of Peter Miller, P.A. for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or provide legal advice. Laws differ by jurisdiction, and the information in this blog may not apply to you. You should seek the assistance of an attorney licensed to practice in your state before taking any action. Using this blog site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Law Office of Peter Miller, P.A. Attorney-client relationships can only be created by written contract.
Photo courtesy of Lee Haywood@flickr.com and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/