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What Is the Connection Between Seatbelts and Spinal Cord Injury?

Buckling up may feel uncomfortable for some motorists in Kansas City, Missouri. However, it is a simple way to protect yourself from a possibly serious injury, such as a spinal cord injury. In fact, seat belts, together with airbags, are designed to protect the vehicle’s occupants from more severe injuries in the event of an accident.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a 2012 report stated that lap-shoulder seatbelts can limit the risk of a fatal injury to front-seat occupants by 45 percent. The seatbelt also reduces the risk of moderate to severe injuries by 50 percent. In 2011, approximately 11,949 lives of children aged five and older were saved because they were wearing their seatbelts. As a result, law enforcement officers and the Department of Transportation are doing their best to educate motorists about the significance of seat belts, not only to protect against spinal cord injuries but also to protect against fatal injuries from a crash.

Seatbelts and airbags are tremendously protective of spinal cord injuries. According to one expert, seatbelts protect the spine from significant trauma in the event of a car accident. Without a seatbelt, there is a greater chance that a person will suffer forced trauma to the spine. Considering that spinal cord injuries are caused by any violent movement that twists, pulls, or causes compression to the spinal cord, seatbelts help prevent such damage by bracing a person’s body against the seat and cushioning any possible impact with the sides of the vehicle or steering wheel.

Spinal cord injuries affect thousands of lives each year, resulting in long-term medical care, expenses, and sometimes death. While it is evident that seatbelt use may curb the number of people suffering spinal cord injury, car and seat belt manufacturers should guarantee that their products can really protect car occupants from such injury. Otherwise, a defective seatbelt or airbag can result in the manufacturer’s liability for any crash-related injuries.

Source: Everyday Health, “Seat Belts and Airbags for Car Safety,” Chris Iliades, Accessed Oct. 8, 2014