Not too busy to buckle

The Covington News - - HEALTH - HOSANNA FLETCHER COLUM­NIST Hosanna Fletcher has lived in New­ton County since 2005. With a Masters in Public Health and an­other in So­ci­ol­ogy, she has worked on a va­ri­ety of com­mu­nity devel­op­ment projects, led train­ing ses­sions for Lay Health Ad­vi­sors, con

The week af­ter Spring Break is al­ways a hard tran­si­tion in my house­hold. It is like a taste of sum­mer hours — we stay out­side un­til dark, go to bed late, and get up at 7:30am (which is late in our house!). So when re­al­ity hits and we get back to our school days rou­tine, we in­evitably have a few bumpy morn­ings.

One such morn­ing, we were rush­ing to get out of the house. I had hus­tled ev­ery­one out and got­ten lunch­boxes and back­packs as well as my own ma­te­rial for a cou­ple of meet­ings that day. I was headed out of the drive­way won­der­ing to my­self where the warm spring weather had gone off to when a very stern lit­tle voice came from the back seat. “Mama! You don’t have your seat­belt on!”

Luck­ily, I was in the drive­way (and we have a rather long one). But it was an in­stant that I was re­minded that we teach our chil­dren to do the right thing, the re­spon­si­ble thing, the safe thing and some­times we, our­selves in our in­fini­tively grown-up dis­tracted way of life, for­get.

It’s true. I was go­ing through my men­tal check­list for the day (women – you know what I’m talk­ing about!). I was think­ing of whether the kids had ev­ery­thing, whether I had ev­ery­thing, and even whether we were dressed prop­erly for the weather. I was so “busy” and feel­ing so rushed that I had skipped over think­ing of the sin­gle most im­por­tant thing – to buckle my­self in. Yes, I had buck­led both of the kids in but I had forgotten my­self.

When­ever you ride in a car, wear your seat­belt ev­ery time. No mat­ter how short the trip is – even if it’s only around the cor­ner. In fact, ac­cord­ing to the CDC, us­ing seat belts re­duces se­ri­ous in­juries and deaths in car ac­ci­dents by about 50%.

Mo­tor ve­hi­cle crashes are a lead­ing cause of death for chil­dren in the US. In fact, one third of chil­dren who died in crashes were not buck­led up. We, as par­ents and care­givers, know how im­por­tant it is to buckle up and pro­tect our pre­cious cargo. We need to con­tinue to be dili­gent about buck­ling our kids in ev­ery time.

But we also need to be dili­gent about our­selves. Mo­tor ve­hi­cle crashes are also a lead­ing cause of death for peo­ple ages 5 to 34. And, not sur­pris­ingly, seat belt use is the sin­gle most ef­fec­tive way to save lives and re­duce in­juries. We know this for our kids and we do some­thing about it. We should do the same for our­selves.

Just as im­por­tant as buck­ling up ev­ery time is wear­ing your seat­belt cor­rectly. Did you know there was a cor­rect way to wear a seat­belt?

• The lap (lower) part of the belt should be sit­ting low and tight across the up­per part of your hips. It should never go across the up­per half of your belly.

• The shoul­der part of the seat­belt should fit snugly across your chest and shoul­der, not un­der your arm or across your neck or face.

So be­fore you ad­just the A/C or the ra­dio, buckle your­self in. Ev­ery time. It’s so sim­ple yet so im­por­tant – my 4 year old could tell you that.

photo cour­tesy of Metro Cre­ative Con­nec­tion

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