Taking Action Safety Report: Seat belt covers provide critical, life-saving information for you, child or loved one

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - When you need help, you don’t want anything getting in the way, even if you’re unable to talk. WHNT NEWS 19 is Taking Action to show you an easy way to communicate that critical information in an emergency, without saying a word.

If you spend any time with Patricia Moore and her 4-year-old son Spencer, it’s easy to see they share a special bond.

“He’s very bright, very intelligent and very pleasant to be around,” says Moore, describing her son.

As a mom, keeping her kids safe is always on her mind.

“I think that he’s meant to do great things, so keeping him safe is my number one priority daily,” explains Moore.

Safety is very important to her especially since Spencer is autistic, low verbal and has a hearing impairment and serious food allergies.

“I tend to analyze every situation that could happen,” says Moore.

One of those "what if" situations that Moore has thought about is what if they were in a car wreck, needed help and she or Spencer couldn't communicate. It's not a far-fetched scenario and one paramedics respond to often.

HEMSI Supervisor Alison Boylen says getting information about you or your child in an emergency is crucial.

“I think it’s very important for children like this to have some kind of identification to let people know that they may not be able to tell us what’s going on with them,” says Boylen.

A simple, yet lifesaving addition to your seat belt strap that includes medical conditions and emergency contact names and phone numbers can be helpful in these kinds of situations.

“You could put multiple emergency contact numbers, even the patient’s picture on it,” describes David Butler, owner of Robin’s Nest in Madison. “It’s fully customizable.”

Butler says it’s a new item for them.

“We put it in a heat press and it allows the ink to basically go into the fabric or sub straight,” explains Butler. “You can’t feel it. It won’t come off and it’s completely wear resistant.”

They stick with basic, but bright colors, which is a sure fire strategy in a crisis situation.

“Anything that would be life threatening for that child could be put on that seatbelt cover,” says Boylen.

Boylen says in many ways, it’s better than medical bracelets or necklaces.

“It’s something that we would see right away,” says Boylen. “It would be hard to miss.”

That’s reassuring for moms like Patricia Moore.

“For me, it’s imperative to give first responders every bit of information that can be given without me having to verbally do it,” explains Moore.

Moore keeps one in her car at all times. It’s just another layer of security and a way to fulfill one of her most important roles as a mom – protector.

“You don’t need it until you need it and when you need it, it could be certainly a difference in his life or death,” says Moore. “It could mean the difference in him surviving that situation and him not.”

If you want to get a seat belt or car seat strap cover made, WHNT NEWS 19 checked with first responders and they approved the following design recommendations:

  • Use bright, bold colors for the strap background and text.
  • Use basic font for the text.
  • Choose a weather-proof material.
  • Include multiple names and phone numbers as emergency contacts.
  • Add a picture of the patient, if available.