The what ifs of seat belts

This weekend we traveled up to Oudtshoorn.

The reason for going was there were two Championship D0g Shows on.   I take Dexter to Dog Shows.

I am “that” person. It is a little like Toddlers and Tiaras, just less spray tan and false teeth, but other than that, pretty similar.

To be made up as a Champion, he has to earn 6 Championship Certificates.

Each show awards two certificates per breed – one for the best female and one for the best male in a breed.  There is a lot of competition, and it is about how your dog is perceived by the judge in accordance with the breed standard, how he appears on that day, how he m0ves, and how he compares to the other Boston Terriers there.

Part of the 6 CC’s you need to earn (to be made up as a Champion according to KUSA) is that one is awarded after he is 18 months or older.  You also have to earn at least one away from home – so you need to travel out of your geographic area to earn some of your CC points.

Three kids, a dog, and enough ‘crap and stuff’ to relocate to another country, and we were off for the weekend.

We drive the equivalent of a plumber’s van – it’s white, it’s large – the kids do not have to sit close to each other.  The two girls sat in the back row, and Connor in the middle row with Dexter.

I always check the kids are wearing their seat belts.  I am anal about seat belts.  I reverse the car out of the garage into the drive way and I wear my seat belt.

As I reverse, or when I am about to drive I always say (after I have done a visual check) “Everyone got their seat belts on?”

Then I sound out their names, and they each say yes.

We had stopped along the way, and everyone had got back in, and I had not done a check.  We were driving at at a certain point Kennith had to brake to reduce speed, it was not a huge shut-down-anchors-and-tear-the-tar, but it was a bit of a slow down – and it was enough.

Isabelle flew out of her seat with brute force, and her face slammed into the floor of the car.

She screamed.  I looked back and her face came up and there was just blood and snot bubbles, and some more screaming – initially I could not work out how she had got out of her seat and ended up on the floor.

It did not help she was in a sleeping bag, so her hands could not come up to break her fall, or protect her face.

We couldn’t pull over immediately as we were driving down a pass, and there was no where to pull over safely.  We had to continue driving for a few minutes before there was a safe enough area to pull over to the side of the road, with full screaming, me panicking, and screaming JUST GET YOUR SEAT BELT BACK ON!!! like a lunatic.

She was distressed, and had a cut on her top lip and it was swelling at a bit of a rate, and there was a lot of blood.  Smallish cut, lots of blood, I guess are synonymous with cuts on your face.

We sat with her a bit until she calmed down, staunched the blood flow, buckled her up and started driving again.

I cannot keep thinking of how much worse that could have been.  We could have had an accident, we could have been going faster, something could have happened, that made her slamming her face into the floor boards look like a walk-skip-and-jump in the park.

It wasn’t bad.  I got away with forgetting to check my daughter was wearing a seat belt by a stroke of luck, and a small wake up call.

Thank fk it was not worse.

Thanks fk that my child did not go flying through the windscreen.

Thank fk that our trip to Oudtshoorn will be remembered for the great road trip that it was, Dexter winning a CC and a BOB, and not my child being killed because I forgot to check seat belts.

If you do not buckle your child up, even for short trips, I hope you read this as a wake up call.

Buckle up yourself, buckle up your children.  No excuses.  No arguments.

Buckle your shit up!


Research Data and Statistics on the importance of Seatbelts / Child Restraints/ Baby Seats (Sourced here)

  • A review of research on the effectiveness of seat-belts found that their use reduces the probability of being killed by 40–50% for drivers and front seat passengers and by about 25% for passengers in rear seats.
  • A study in Norway calculated that head injuries make up some 60% of all injuries to vehicle occupants. The study concluded that drivers and front seat passengers who do not use seat-belts suffer almost the same percentage of head injuries as non-users in rear seats.
  • Ejection from a vehicle is one of the most injurious events that can happen to a person in a crash, with 75% of all vehicle occupants ejected from a vehicle in a crash dying as a result.
  • Seat-belts are effective in preventing ejections: overall, 44% of unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants killed are ejected, partially or totally, from the vehicle, as compared to only 5% of restrained occupants.
  • Seat-belts are approximately 50% effective in preventing fatalities in crashes in which motorists would otherwise die. It is estimated that seat-belt use prevented about 15 200 deaths in the United States in 2004. If all passenger vehicle occupants over 4 years of age in the United States had used seat-belts in 2004, nearly 21 000 lives could have been saved (that is, an additional 5800 lives).
  • A review of various United States studies has shown that child safety seats that are correctly installed and used for children aged 0–4 years can reduce the need for hospitalization by 69%. 
  • The risk of death for infants is reduced by 70%, and that for children aged 1–4 years by 47–54%. Of children aged under 5 years, 485 lives could have been saved in the United States in 2002 if all the children had been in child safety seats.
  • It has been estimated in the United Kingdom that new rules on the use of child restraints rather than adult seat-belts for children up to 135 cm in height or aged 12 years and above will save over 2000 child injuries or deaths every year .
  • It is estimated that within the European Union seat-belts currently reduce driver fatalities by 40%.
  • Wearing rates in European countries vary widely from around 70% to over 95%. If all European Union countries were to achieve a 99% wearing rate for drivers, 2400 lives would be saved each year.

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