Role of Seatbelts in Preventing Spinal Injuries

Seat belts are the most important safety feature in your car. A new study finds a high risk of spinal injuries in children who were unbuckled during a motor vehicle accident.

Spinal injuries are not very common in young children, but they are very serious injuries when they do occur. Spinal injuries account for approximately 1 to 2% of all injuries involving children. Although they are comparatively rare compared to other types of injuries, they are linked to a significant drop in the person’s quality of life and his ability to enjoy life after the injury.

The researchers wanted to see the incidence of spinal injuries, especially pediatric spinal fractures, in younger motorists between the age of 15 and 17. The researchers focused on a total of more than 34,500 patients as part of the study. The average age of patients in the study was 15 years.

The researchers found in their analysis that more than 63% of the spinal fractures or vertebral fractures occurred in patients between the age of 15 and 17. The most common cause of vertebral fractures was motor vehicle accidents with close to 67% of the injuries linked to auto accidents. Males were much more likely to suffer spinal fractures compared to females.

The study found that seat belt use was a major factor in a person’s risk of suffering spinal injuries in an accident. Over 70% of children who suffered spinal injuries in auto accidents were not wearing seatbelts at the time. Approximately two – thirds of spinal fractures in auto accidents occurred when the children were not restrained in seat belts at the time of the accident. In fact, failure to wear seatbelts was actually linked to a 20% increased chance of dying in an accident.

The results of the study show that seatbelts play a significant role in helping reduce the risk of a spinal injury in an accident. The study was performed on child passengers, but the results are likely to be similar in the case of adults as well. The use of basic protective gear like seatbelts can play a significant role in the reduction of the risk of significant injury or death in a crash.

Make sure that you are buckled in before you begin driving. Make sure that all your passengers, including back seat passengers are wearing their seatbelts as well. Back seat passengers are often at risk of ignoring seat belt usage, but this can be a terrible mistake with potentially deadly consequences.

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident in the metro Atlanta region or anywhere in Georgia, talk to a car accident attorney to determine if you have legal rights to a claim for damages. You may qualify for damages that include medical costs, lost income as well as pain and suffering and other damages.    You might qualify for damages that include medical expenses, lost income, diminished earning capacity, pain and suffering and other types of damages. 

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