Saturday, May 30, 2009

Oh! To Be Restrained!

Remember when you were in high school and some group came in and put on one of those classes about car wrecks and tried to scare you into submission regarding wearing your seatbelt and following traffic laws to keep you safe? Yeah?

Well, that's me now.

I do a class every quarter for our local court system called Trauma Nurses Talk Tough. It was originally founded and developed by a group of nurses at my former workplace - Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Oregon. It's an amazing program. The studies/analysis/review on it have shown that it truly does make an impact on some of the kiddos that go through it. There are different programs designed for each age group of kids ranging from Kindergarten through Senior Year. It also has specifically arranged classes for high risk drivers, seatbelt violaters, etc.

One of the main points I hit on in the older age groups is wearing your seatbelt properly. So many people do not know how to properly wear a seatbelt. They think if you just have it clicked and somewhat arranged over the front of your body, then all is well.

You people are wrong!

A guy I took care of in the ER once told me he never wears a seatbelt because "Dude, they cause more harm than they prevent. My buddy broke his back wearing a seatbelt and now I don't wear one. I don't want my damn back broken."

Let us discuss.......

Improperly worn seatbelts cause injuries. Improperly worn.........dude.

Officer Smith also talks about this on a recent blog post of his. It is not OK to put the shoulder portion of the belt under your arm or behind your back. It's not fun for a person to deal with the effects of broken ribs, a pneumothorax, lacerated liver, lacerated spleen, ruptured bowel, broken back, etc. These are just a few of the injuries you can receive from wearing your seatbelt improperly.

Another important point: Do not sleep with your head against the seatbelt and do not recline your seat and sleep in a car. Reclining seats are stupid. Shall I repeat this for my hard of hearing readers? Reclining your seat in a car is STUPID! I don't know why car manufacturers even give us the ability to recline. If you are reclining in your seat and have your seatbelt on, you can slip UNDER the seat belt in a crash and have horrible injuries from this (or even dun, dun, dun.......die). You can also get your head caught up in the seat belt in this position (and also when you are sleeping, laying your head against the seatbelt) and have a neck fracture resulting in paralysis.

This my friends, is not fun.

If the lap belt is not properly positioned you can also have major injuries. Many people like to wear it up over their belly. This is a big No No! Abdominal injuries, paralysis, and groin lacerations - oh my! The lap belt should be properly positioned across your hips. If you are pregnant, then under your belly and across your hips/pelvis area.

They have also found that kids raised in a rural environment are more likely to fall asleep at the wheel when they hit driving age. Why, you ask? Funny you should ask that, because I happen to have the answer. Amazing how life works, isn't it?

Rural families often drive long distances to get anywhere. Ask me how I know this......Our town is 2 hours from anywhere. So back to the topic......Rural families often drive foreeeeeeeever to get to their next destination. Mom and Pop encourage the kiddos to "take a little nap" during the drive. Thus, kids learn at a young age to sleep in a car and become accustomed to that. They think this leads to the body being more apt to fall asleep at the wheel because it is not trained to maintain alertness when driving. Kinda weird how things work, huh?

So sit upright, make sure you are alert, seatbelt properly across your shoulder, lap belt properly across your hips and you have a much better chance of not receiving injuries in a crash.

Oh and one more thing! 10 and 2 o'clock hand position no longer applies. Try 9 and 3 o'clock. The former position is shown to have more injuries now related from the expelling of the gas with airbags. Burns and fractures of hands/wrists. Reeducate yourselves to the 9 and 3 position to decrease those injuries.

OK Class.......Lecture over. There will be pop quiz on this. Get out your papers and pens.


Kari said...

People who think seatbelts do more harm than good have the stupid.

I was seriously injured by my seatbelt I sustained shoulder injuries that will last me a lifetime I have TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome). I also know though that in that crash I would have died or been more seriously injured if it weren't for the seatbelt that yes injured me but it also saved my life.

Tonjia said...

great post!! I like the people who say "I heard of a guy who went into the river and drowned because of his seat belt"... so they dont wear them. makes no sense to me.

Just 3 days ago I had a pediatric trauma come in who was properly restrained in a mini-van, involved in a high speed t-bone collision. Drunk driver ran a red light and plowed into the side of the van she was riding in, right on the door where she was sitting! compartment intrusion was >24 inches and this child basically walked away with a mild concussion. thanks to the restraint system. As did the other 3 pediatric passengers and the adult who was driving.

It made my day!!! :-)

Officer "Smith" said...

The only thing you forgot to mention was to keep your hands on the OUTSIDE of the steering wheel if your car has airbags.

No more driving with the hand casually draped inside the bottom of the steering wheel.

I had to break Mrs. Smith of the habit of putting her hand inside the top of the wheel when she was making turns, but she eventually got over it.

Kate Travers said...

Dear Julie,

My name is Kate Travers and I am the Marketing and Publicity Director for Folio Literary Management.
We represent Dr. Lara Zibners, emergency room pediatrician and author of IF YOUR KID EATS THIS BOOK, EVERYTHING WILL STILL BE OKAY: How to Know if Your Child’s Injury or Illness is Really an Emergency (Grand Central Publishers; June 17, 2009). I'm writing you to see if you might be interested in reviewing IF YOUR KID EATS THIS BOOK on your ER RN Blog. I think the book would really appeal to your constituency.
Dr. Zibners has seen it all. She's cared for a portion of the 25 million children in the US who are taken to the ER each year; up to 75% of these visits, she says, are unnecessary. Her book shows parents when it’s necessary to take action – and when they can go back to bed and call their doctor in the morning. No more frantic late-night searches through the other childcare books to find out if a child needs to go to the ER. IF YOUR KIDS EATS THIS BOOK offers sound advice on every part of the body from diaper to noggin in a funny, fresh way, and the early reviewers are clamoring to get their hands on a copy.
Here's Dr. Zibners’ website to read more about the book: The site features some of Dr. Zibners’ articles and videos with advice on baby bumps and bruises, fevers, crayon eating, fussiness, belly pain, and more.
Let me know if you would like a copy. If you would like to interview Dr. Zibners, I would be happy to arrange it.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Kate Travers
Marketing and Publicity Director, Folio Literary Management

Julie said...

Kate -
Absolutely. Unfortunately, you left me with no contact information. I went to both websites (Dr Zibners' and Folio's) and neither had a direct link nor an email address for you.

Feel free to contact me here again or you may email me at my junk address: I will then contact you and relay my real email address.

Looking forward to connecting.

Julie said...

Officer Smith - great point(s). I have a nasty habit of turning my wheel with one hand on the top of the wheel. I'm still trying to break myself of that one (kind of like potty training a puppy), and I know the dangers.

I enjoy your blog very much!

Southern Drawl said...

Yes, Ma'am. No, really, I wear my seat belt and lecture all passengers in my vehicle or the driver if I'm the passenger...yes, I am that annoying. :)

Officer "Smith" said...

Thank you. And I yours.

Tami said...

But, but, but Ms. Juuuuuuliiiiie, if I'm lying down, I don't think I should be driving anyway. wth?! :D Tami

Julie said...

Oh my gosh - you'd be surprised how many people recline their seats when they drive - seriously. Also it's the passengers and kiddos in the back seat that do this too. Lots of injuries from the non drivers in a car related to improperly worn seatbelts.

Anonymous said...

The people I know who recline their feet while driving are...
...not able to get their knees or head into the space they're supposed to sit in otherwise.

Mind, cars are only supposed to be safe for people up to 1,85m in length anyway... anything above there aren't any crash test dummies or demands for. :)
Makes you feel so safe, doesn't it? :)

(but yes, people who recline their seat just because are silly... correct driving position is a good way to avoid accidents, yo!)


Julie Davis said...

Holy golly! OK, now I won't have an excuse any longer. Thanks for the lecture, I guess! Cheers, Julie

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