Oh HGTV, you’ve done it again. Anyone who regularly watches your shows knows about the poor seat belt use shown in your various programs. We watch for the personalities and eye candy—why hello, Property Brothers, I’ve got a room or two for you to make over 😉 and hey, if you ever have kids, I’m local if you need carseat help. But yesterday as I was stuck on the couch recovering from a broken patella, I watched a new makeover show that demonstrated the depths of seat belt misuse.
This is what they should look like:
I’m baffled at why the stars of this new show, Go Big or Go Home, decided to place the shoulder belts behind their backs. This left them only secured by the lap belts of the seat belts, which in their state, California, is considered a misuse by law. In the event of a crash, they would jack knife in half going full force into the frontal airbags since they have no upper body restraint. Ask anyone who’s been in a crash where the airbag has deployed, but it’s not comfortable even wearing a shoulder belt to be hit by an airbag going over 150 mph. If you haven’t had your recalled Takata inflators replaced yet and are driving an older model Honda, you may also be hit by shrapnel. Then you might also suffer the indignity of being issued a ticket for wearing your seat belt incorrectly.
Later on in the show, the stars were shown wearing their shoulder belts, but the fit of the seat belt on the woman was incorrect. This is a common problem. How could she have fixed it? There are a couple of simple things she could have done and maybe these are things you can do to help your seat belt fit you too.
- Use the shoulder belt adjuster. Many shoulder belts can be adjusted up or down. Adjusting it up moves the seat belt closer to your neck and off your arm.
- Adjust the back of the vehicle seat more upright. Adjusting the vehicle seat back more upright allows the shoulder belt to touch your shoulder and collar bone, which is proper positioning.
- Adjust the base of the vehicle seat up or down to get better lap belt and overall seat belt fit. The adjuster is usually on the outside of the seat and may be motorized, a “pump-action” handle, or some other type of adjuster. It will also help position you better for the airbag and so you can see over the hood of the vehicle.
- If you’re under 120 lbs. and either don’t get an adequate fit by adjusting the vehicle seat or can’t adjust your vehicle seat, try a Safety 1st Incognito Kid Positioner. This would be an “off-label” use, similar to how doctors prescribe certain medications to treat conditions they aren’t approved for since the Incognito is technically for kids. The Incognito isn’t like a traditional booster, though, and won’t compress in a crash like a pillow would, and will help the lap belt fit if you have problems in that area.
While our biggest goal is to keep child passengers safe, if their parents aren’t riding safely, they aren’t providing a good example for their children. And if their parents are injured or killed in a crash, it’s the children who pay the price.