Tightening Your Belt

By DeeDee

When I was in my early 20’s, I was involved in a head-on car collision. And because I was young and made not-so-wise decisions nearly daily, I wasn’t wearing my seat belt.

We were hurtling down the freeway traveling at least 65 mph, and hit another car going the wrong way. I had seen other cars on the other side of the divider flashing their lights and honking, but had no idea why. They saw the car going down the wrong side. We did not.

There were no skid marks from braking. Because there was no time. The only thing that saved me from being thrown through the windshield was that when we hit the car, the van in which I was on the passenger side, went up and over the car. I was thrown up into the roof of the van, and my legs went through the dashboard. There were no airbags.

I walked away from that accident. Lots of bumps and bruises. But, I walked away.

Not everyone else did.

Ever since then, I’ve been fastidious about buckling not only my seat belt, but my children’s belts as well. I don’t move the car until I know everyone is strapped in.

This week, a family we know lost their teenage daughter in a car accident. She was not wearing her seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. The car that hit them was allegedly only going about 40 mph. And in all likelihood, she would have survived if she had been wearing her belt.

A decision that ended her young life, and has forever marred the lives of her family and friends.

I will tell you, that at times as a passenger, I have unbuckled to retrieve a lost toy from the floor. And I have allowed my children to unbuckle at a stop light, just for a second, to get something that was dropped.

But as we well know, life can change in a split second. And this has served as a wake-up call to my family, not to unbuckle. Under any circumstances. Until we have reached our destination. Or McDonalds. Whichever comes first.

My 9 year old is clamoring to ride in the front seat, and my 7 year old is campaigning to get out of her booster seat a little early.

The answer to both is now a loud resounding “NO!”

The American Academy of Pediatrics has an awesome online guide to car safety and the use of seat restraints. You can find it here. (http://www.aap.org/family/Carseatguide.htm)

Please look it over. We all need a reminder now and again.
DeeDee blogs at FiddleDeeDee.
13 Responses to Tightening Your Belt
  1. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)
    April 5, 2009 | 2:13 am

    Wow. What an important reminder.

    I am sooooo scared of car accidents… I can’t imagine being in such a terrible accident like you were. How unbelievably frightening.

    It is so frustrating how young people feel invincible and make such decisions. How heartbreaking for the family. My prayers are with them.

  2. Brea's Mommy
    April 5, 2009 | 9:05 am

    I am also a stickler for seatbelts. I had a lot of friends die throughout high school and the years after. Most due to car accidents. It made me realize at an early age that I was not invincible. Thanks so much for posting. My prayers are with the friends and family of the 16 year old girl I am so sorry for their loss.

  3. His Girl Amber
    April 5, 2009 | 9:25 am

    well said, girl. *high five*

  4. Jan Ross
    April 5, 2009 | 9:28 am

    Years ago, one of my students was killed when he unbuckled his seat belt to get a tape from the back seat. His grandmother was driving, a tire blew, and his life ended. Now that I have a little grandson, I can’t imagine the guilt that she will feel for the rest of her life. We ALWAYS buckle up.

  5. Melanie
    April 5, 2009 | 10:35 am

    My heart goes out to your friends. Thank you for this, DeeDee.

  6. Jennifer
    April 5, 2009 | 11:34 am

    Some people will argue that a seatbelt can kill you too. My husband is a firefighter/EMT and he knows first hand that the risk of serious injury or death is MUCH higher without the seatbelt. The cases of that happening while wearing your belt are rare. I lost my grandfather and then my uncle due to car accidents. Most likely they would be here if they had been strapped in! My grandfather died from internal injuries – the steering wheel crushed his ribs that punctured organs. The steering wheel wouldn’t have touched him if he had buckled up. Years later, my uncle was thrown from his truck. The driver’s seat was untouched in the collision, so it was clear that being thrown was what killed him. It hurts to know that a simple click could have saved them both. It is so important! I get so upset when I’m driving and see children all over the car. I really don’t understand why the time isn’t taken to strap them in. It’s so important! Even if it is for just a very short distance!
    Thanks for sharing this – I hope it saves someone’s life!

  7. Amy from Occupation: Mommy
    April 5, 2009 | 3:31 pm

    Thank you for this post. When I was in my early 20s, I was also in a head-on car collision. Fortunately, I was wearing my seatbelt. But even so, I went through 10 weeks of physical therapy after surgery to repair my knee. Needless to say, I am extremely strict about seatbelts and carseat safety. My friends know NOT to talk to me about carseats unless they want absolutely the most cautious advice. And even though my 2nd grade daughter would love to be out of her booster, she knows better than to even bother to ask. This is so important. I hope your post causes someone to check her child’s carseat today!

  8. candace
    April 5, 2009 | 7:32 pm

    I am a stickler for seatbelts and carseats. I wont move the car until I know everyone is buckled in. I also never unbuckle even at a stoplight because i think someone could always rearend me at anytime.

  9. rrmama
    April 6, 2009 | 9:36 am

    Thanks for the reminder. I do the samething with mine, letting them out to get something they dropped. Not any more!

  10. Checking In With The Sisters
    April 11, 2009 | 4:35 pm

    […] to first head over to 5 Minutes for Parenting and read DeeDee’s story about buckling up! Tightening Your Belt will hopefully remind you that it only takes a few […]

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  13. adderall
    September 21, 2013 | 6:41 pm

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