When do kids belts get new safety guidelines?
CHANEL BELT, Ill.
— Kids belts have had a long history of being a source of amusement in the United States.
But when they’ve been involved in a fatality, they’ve often had to have a safety warning, said Dr. Steven B. Hahn, a pediatrics professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and director of the center for the study of pediatric obesity.
When the belt is used to restrain a child, it’s a safety issue, said Hahn.
Kids are going to be restrained in a manner that they know will cause injury, and if they’re restrained for longer than what they need to be, that may be more serious than the child was injured, he said.
The belt has also come under fire for its popularity.
It is often used for children with medical conditions.
In 2006, a 3-year-old boy with asthma died from choking after a belt fell on his face.
Two years later, a 10-year old boy in Florida died after his belt fell in a pool of his mouth.
And in 2013, a 6-year olds death at the hands of a belt in Utah was blamed on a loose belt that caused the boy to choke to death.
“It’s not the belts fault, it is the belts.
And you can’t change that,” said Hahn.
He said parents should be able to wear the belt for children who are able to safely wear it.
Belt safety has been a topic of conversation recently after a 3 year old boy died after a toddler belt fell onto him at a home in Colorado.
A few weeks after the boy’s death, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report warning that belt use has been on the rise and that the dangers of choking can be exacerbated when a child is in a child-sized belt.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health published an analysis in May saying that belts have been used to hold infants and toddlers in excess of 10 times.
Parents should use belt safety as an opportunity to talk to their kids about the importance of safety and how to properly use the belt.
“The most important thing is, are you following the rules?
Do you respect the rules?” said Dr., Scott Ritter, chief medical officer of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
“If you’re not, then I think it’s really important that you have a discussion with your child about what is safe and what is not safe and then we can look at what is the safest and what isn’t.”
The study also found that when the belt was placed on the child, the belt may have become dislodged from the child’s body or possibly the child may have fallen on the belt and hit the child in the face.