Seat Belt Injuries: What You Need To Know

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Wearing your seatbelt is the law in Florida for all drivers as well as passengers. 

Seat belts are designed to keep us safe on the road. They do help to protect us from being ejected from a vehicle. In the case of a car accident, seat belts also simply help to keep both the driver and the passengers in their seats which can help to reduce overall injuries.

Of course, all of this is great! However, what is often overlooked is that seat belts can cause injury as well. 

Read on as we discuss all you need to know about seat belt injuries. 

3 Most Common Seat Belt Injuries

Abrasions and Lacerations

You may not notice from daily use, but seatbelt material can be quite thick and stiff. Obviously, this has been designed with safety in mind as car manufacturers don’t want seat belts to break or falter. 

This thick material can cause damage to the skin in the case of an accident. Scrapes, cuts, and bruises are common injuries sustained from a seatbelt during car accidents. You may not see these as immediately serious, however, such injuries could be open to infection or a signal of deeper injury. 

Upper Body Injuries

When a seatbelt locks into place during an accident, it creates a pretty tight hold on your body. This can result in broken or bruised ribs, soft tissue damage in your shoulders, and chest/sternum injuries. 

Upper body injuries can cause severe pain in muscle, tendon, ligaments, or broken bones. It’s important to seek medical diagnosis and treatment.

Abdominal Soft Tissue Trauma

Abdominal injuries can be sneaky, you may not feel pain right away. But considering how much force can be made on your abdomen during an accident, it’s important to be checked by a doctor regardless. 

If you do experience abdominal pain, it isn’t always internal bleeding. It could be pulled muscles or ligaments. If you experience any abdominal pain or bruising, it’s important to see a doctor. Internal bleeding can be fatal if left untreated. 

Seat Belt Syndrome

The National Library of Medicine refers to the set of injuries detailed above as “seat belt syndrome.”  It states that seat belt syndrome refers to a “range from bruising and abrasions following the distribution of the seatbelt, also known as seatbelt signs, to intra-abdominal injuries and vertebral fractures.” 

Treatment

Treatment for seat belt syndrome and the associated injuries is entirely dependent on severity and should be treated on a case by case basis. 

It is important to seek medical care after an accident where you may have sustained seat belt injuries. No two accidents are the same just as the injuries and treatments will be different for each individual. 

A key factor to remember is that your upper body and abdomen contain vital organs. It’s important to get checked by a doctor as soon as you can to ensure proper treatment and a smooth healing process. Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you suspect that you may be suffering from seat belt syndrome. 

If you’re looking for long-term medical care after an accident, check out last week’s blog post

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