How to Wear Safety Belts Properly

This section is only for people of adult size.

Be aware that there are special things to know about safety belts and children. And there are different rules for smaller children and infants. If a child will be riding in the vehicle, see Older Children or Infants and Young Children. Follow those rules for everyone’s protection.

It is very important for all occupants to buckle up.

Statistics show that unbelted people are hurt more often in crashes than those who are wearing safety belts.

Occupants who are not buckled up can be thrown out of the vehicle in a crash. And they can strike others in the vehicle who are wearing safety belts.

First, before you or your passenger(s) wear a safety belt, there is important information you should know.

Sit up straight and always keep your feet on the floor in

Sit up straight and always keep your feet on the floor in front of you. The lap part of the belt should be worn low and snug on the hips, just touching the thighs. In a crash, this applies force to the strong pelvic bones and you would be less likely to slide under the lap belt. If you slid under it, the belt would apply force on your abdomen.

This could cause serious or even fatal injuries. The shoulder belt should go over the shoulder and across the chest. These parts of the body are best able to take belt restraining forces.

The shoulder belt locks if there is a sudden stop or crash.

Q: What is wrong with this?

A: The shoulder belt is too loose. It will not give as

A: The shoulder belt is too loose. It will not give as much protection this way.

WARNING:
You can be seriously hurt if your shoulder belt is too loose. In a crash, you would move forward too much, which could increase injury. The shoulder belt should fit snugly against your body.

Q: What is wrong with this?

A: The lap belt is too loose. It will not give nearly as

A: The lap belt is too loose. It will not give nearly as much protection this way.

WARNING:
You can be seriously hurt if your lap belt is too loose. In a crash, you could slide under the lap belt and apply force on your abdomen. This could cause serious or even fatal injuries. The lap belt should be worn low and snug on the hips, just touching the thighs.

Q: What is wrong with this?

A: The belt is buckled in the wrong buckle.

A: The belt is buckled in the wrong buckle.

WARNING:
You can be seriously injured if your belt is buckled in the wrong place like this. In a crash, the belt would go up over your abdomen. The belt forces would be there, not on the pelvic bones. This could cause serious internal injuries. Always buckle your belt into the buckle nearest you.

Q: What is wrong with this?

A: The belt is over an armrest.

A: The belt is over an armrest.

WARNING:
You can be seriously injured if your belt goes over an armrest like this. The belt would be much too high. In a crash, you can slide under the belt. The belt force would then be applied on the abdomen, not on the pelvic bones, and that could cause serious or fatal injuries. Be sure the belt goes under the armrests.

Q: What is wrong with this?

A: The shoulder belt is worn under the arm. It should

A: The shoulder belt is worn under the arm. It should be worn over the shoulder at all times.

WARNING:
You can be seriously injured if you wear the shoulder belt under your arm. In a crash, your body would move too far forward, which would increase the chance of head and neck injury. Also, the belt would apply too much force to the ribs, which are not as strong as shoulder bones. You could also severely injure internal organs like your liver or spleen. The shoulder belt should go over the shoulder and across the chest.

Q: What is wrong with this?

A: The belt is behind the body.

A: The belt is behind the body.

WARNING:
You can be seriously injured by not wearing the lap-shoulder belt properly. In a crash, you would not be restrained by the shoulder belt. Your body could move too far forward increasing the chance of head and neck injury. You might also slide under the lap belt. The belt force would then be applied right on the abdomen. That could cause serious or fatal injuries. The shoulder belt should go over the shoulder and across the chest.

Q: What is wrong with this?

A: The belt is twisted across the body.

A: The belt is twisted across the body.

WARNING:
You can be seriously injured by a twisted belt. In a crash, you would not have the full width of the belt to spread impact forces. If a belt is twisted, make it straight so it can work properly, or ask your dealer/retailer to fix it.

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