Severe abdominal injuries sustained in an adult wearing a pelvic seatbelt: a case report and review of the literature

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In automobile accidents, the “seatbelt syndrome” (SBS) consists of a constellation of injuries, predominantly involving thoraco-lumbar vertebral fractures and intraabdominal organ injury. A recent amendment to Irish legislation has made the wearing of seatbelts mandatory for all rear seated passengers in an effort to protect children. Whilst rear seatbelts result in a significant reduction in morbidity and mortality following road traffic accidents (RTA), we present a case in which the rear lap seatbelt caused severe abdominal injuries. It is evident that the current rear seat lapbelt system is an inferior design associated with a significant morbidity and mortality when compared to three-point harness system and consideration should be given to replacing them in all motor vehicles.

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