The impact of seat‑belts in limiting the severity of injuries in patients presenting to a university hospital in the developing world
AbstractBackground: Road traffic injuries are major public health problems and a leading cause of death and injury around the world. Approximately 1.2 million people are killed each year in road crashes worldwide, with up to 50 million more injured. Over 95% of these deaths and injuries occur in the low‑ and middle‑income countries of the world. The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of the use of seat‑belts in reducing the severity of injuries from road traffic crashes and to determine the compliance and awareness of the importance of the use of seat‑belts among Nigerian motorists. Patients and Methods: The injury patterns and outcome of care in 140 patients who were seen at the emergency department of our tertiary hospital were evaluated. Initial care and resuscitation was carried out on all patients using the advanced trauma life support protocol. Results: A total of 81 (57%) patients used seat‑belts, while 59 (42.1%) did not. Nineteen (13.6%) patients died as a result of their injuries; 4 (21.1%) of these had used seat‑belts, while 15 (79%) had not (P = 0.001). The mortality rate of 79% for patients who did not use seat‑belt was statistically significant. Conclusions: The seat‑belt is an effective safety tool that not only saves lives, but also significantly reduces the severity of the injury that a vehicle occupant may have sustained if they were not wearing the device. More public enlightenment is needed to increase the awareness and compliance of use of seat‑belts among Nigerian motorists.
Keywords: Cohort study, community, hospital care, motor vehicles, public health, restraints, seat‑belts, university hospital
Nigerian Medical Journal | Vol. 54 | Issue 1 | January-February | 2013