An Australian invention hopes to end the worries of parents whilst in the car, and reduce the risk of unrestrained children suffering injuries following a collision.
Called Buckle Me Up, the invention is a wireless device that connects to any rear seatbelts being used by children, alerting if one of them becomes unfastened.
If a child’s inquisitive nature guides them to unbuckle their seatbelt, an alert will sound via a display mounted to the dashboard in a similar way to an electronic tolling tag.
The device’s creators say this eliminates the need for parents to randomly turn their heads to check that children are restrained during a journey, meaning fewer instances of distraction and less time spent with one’s eyes off the road.
Buckle Me Up says Queensland research suggests one in five people killed during a collision was not wearing a seatbelt, and that NSW statistics point to a 45 percent increase in fatalities among passengers without seatbelts.
Furthermore, 21.7 percent of children aged between four and 12 years of age who died during road collisions in NSW were not wearing seatbelts.
While new cars have featured seatbelt reminder warning devices for front seat passengers for many years, the technology has been slow to find its way into the back seat.
New Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) guidelines now require all ‘fixed’ rear seats to feature seatbelt warning lights, if a new model is to be awarded the maximum 5-star safety rating in 2015.
“Unrestrained children in the car coupled with driver distraction can have devastating consequences,” SIDS and Kids CEO, Associate Professor Leanne Raven, said.
“For more than 25 years, I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact road crashes have on families.”
Buckle Me Up says its device is 100 percent Australian designed, engineered, manufactured and owned, and the creators say further improvements to the technology are scheduled for later this year.
The device can be ordered from buckelmeup.com (website opens in new window) with prices starting from AU$189.
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