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Mortal myths related to the use of seatbelts and child restraining systems

01/12/2013

Urban myths that are still used to this day by people as an excuse not to use a basic safety system: a grave error of judgment, that every year costs the lives of numerous drivers and passengers.

1º MYTH: It is much safer to carry my baby in my arms or on my knee.
THE REALITY SCIENTIFICALLY DEMONSTRATED: During an accident the body weight of the occupants is multiplied by 20 to 40 times. A baby of 10kgs will become 200 to 400kgs; no adult is able to hold it. Even worse, an adult weighing 75kgs could squash a baby with a force of 1500 to 3000 kilos (more than a medium sized van).

MYTH: It is safer not to wear a seatbelt and be thrown clear of the vehicle rather than be trapped in it.
THE REALITY SCIENTIFICALLY DEMONSTRATED: The force of an impact could throw a person up 50 meters from the vehicle (a distance if 15 vehicles placed end to end). Being thrown from a vehicle during an accident multiplies the risk of sustaining a fatal injury by 4. While 75% of all those thrown from a vehicle are killed. These figures have been verified in various studies.

MYTH: If you are wearing a seatbelt you could be trapped in a fire or drowned if the car is submerged in water.
THE REALITY SCIENTIFICALLY DEMONSTRATED: It is much easier to escape from a vehicle and be rescued if wearing a seatbelt and you have sustained minor injuries, without the seatbelt these would be serious injuries. A person not wearing a seatbelt and unconscious after a bang to the head, for example, would not be able to escape the vehicle by him or herself. In a case like this the probability of escaping the vehicle is 3 to 5 times higher when wearing a seatbelt. Only 1 in every 200 accidents involves fire or immersion in water.

MYTH: Seatbelts and harnesses on child seats cause injury in an accident.
THE REALITY SCIENTIFICALLY DEMONSTRATED: If seatbelts and harnesses are correctly fastened, it is very rare that they cause injury. If they do then they are usually superficial injuries, which are much less serious than those they would have sustained if not using a seatbelt or a child seat.

5º MYTH: It isn’t necessary to use a child seat if travelling slowly on a short trip.
THE REALITY SCIENTIFICALLY DEMONSTRATED: 50% of accident victims that were not wearing a seatbelt were travelling at under 50km/hr. A collision at 50km/hr. is the same as falling from the third floor of a building. Two thirds of those accidents occur within 15kms of the victims home.

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