Seatbelt Survival: Unrestrained Kids = Rockets

Seatbelt Survival: Unrestrained Kids = Rockets

Today’s post takes a slight detour from our main focus of distracted driving…although not completely unrelated.

Picture a small child, three or maybe four years old standing behind a man who could be his father. The small boy is smiling with his arms wrapped lovingly around the man as he peers out the window peeking over the man’s shoulder. Sounds like a delightful scene doesn’t it?

I would have thought so too if it weren’t for the fact that the man being so lovingly hugged is driving his SUV along a main road, doing about 50 km/hour. The small boy is standing, obviously not restrained by his seatbelt, leaning against the back of the driver’s seat.

While working with the speakers on my team, the 27-year-veteran fire fighter introduced me to a term I’d not heard before…rockets. Not the cool kind that you see shooting up into the sky, but it’s what unrestrained children, babies and animals become when involved in a collision. If you’re travelling at 50 km/h with an unrestrained child in your vehicle, and are involved in a collision bringing your vehicle to a sudden stop, the unrestrained child keeps moving at 50 km/h. Please buckle up your kids, always.

Children can be distracting enough even when fully restrained, but an unrestrained child with their arms wrapped around you is a distraction of epic proportion…not to mention taking irresponsibility to a disturbingly new level.

Some facts* that may get the attention of this and other drivers:

  • 8 out of every 10 crashes happen at speeds less than 60 km/h.
  • People who are not wearing their occupant restraints have been fatally injured at speeds as slow as 20 km/h.
  • Being thrown into a steering assembly accounts for 30% of fatal injuries of people involved in collisions.
  • Striking the windshield, windshield frame, or instrument panel causes 40% of deaths.
  • Your chances of being fatally injured are 24 times greater if thrown from your vehicle. Estimates reveal that 4 out of 5 people who died when thrown from their vehicle would have lived, had they remained inside it.
  • 1 out of 5 injuries occurs because unrestrained people inside the vehicle slam into each other.  Unbelted, you could crush and kill someone else in the vehicle, even someone you love.
  • 1 out of every 200 injury-producing crashes involves fire or submersion in water. Wearing your occupant restraint will help you to survive the collision so that you have a better chance to remain conscious and to leave your vehicle.
  • It can be lethal to hold a child on your lap. An unrestrained (30lb) child in a 50km/hour crash is like dropping that child from a third story window.
  • The 7% of Canadians not wearing seat belts account for almost 40% of fatalities in vehicle collisions.
  • 6 people die every day on Canada’s roads.

Buckle Up!

*Source: Transport Canada & Solutions

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One thought on “Seatbelt Survival: Unrestrained Kids = Rockets

  1. Towing in Maple Ridge

    Very informative article. Just wanted to add that in addition to restraining your child properly, loose objects can also act as “rockets” in the event of a collision. And also, with Canada’s ever-changing ethnic diversity, education and enforcement is more important than ever. We need to ensure a serious emphasis on car safety so as to avoid rates of mortality in motor vehicles.

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