As a parent, Australian mom Natalie Bell often worried about what would happen if her child was in an accident. To add to that, Natalie is a mom to a child with disabilities, so she began thinking of what could happen if her daughter’s disability wasn’t immediately identified in a situation like a car accident.
That is exactly what inspired her seat belt cover invention. Natalie sells other personalized products through her business “Personalised by nat”, but this simple product is by far her best selling.
Her Daughter Inspired Her To Take Action
Natalie shared a post about her new creation to her Facebook page and the response was overwhelming. Sharing the pictures, she said “I always wonder what would happen if I was in a car accident with a daughter in the car and I was unable to let the doctors know that my daughter could not have an MRI due to having a cochlear implant, now I don’t need to worry about that with these seat belt covers. "
The post now has over 750K shares and counting, with tens of thousands of comments, almost all of which are praising Natalie’s simple and effective solution.
The Design Is Simple And Effective
Natalie has designed velcro covers with clear bold lettering on them to attach to seat belts in order to indicate your child has a disability for medical personnel or first responders.
The covers could also be attached to backpack straps to help identify a disabled child in an emergency situation at school. They even work in public if your child were to wander off and someone approached them, that person might be able to interact better with them if it's immediately clear that they have a disability of some sort.
What Are The Options?
Currently, the seat belt covers retail for $15 AUD (about $10.50 USD) and are sold through Natalie’s business website. The covers come in a variety of labels for different disabilities, including “I have Autism, I may resist help” “I have a cochlear implant, No MRI” and “I have Type 1 (or Type 2) diabetes, Insulin Dependent.”
There is also a customizable option available, with the example of “My name is Shae, I am Non Verbal and have Epilepsy.” Natalie says she can customize the cover for any disability, physical or mental.
The Response Was Overwhelming
The response online was mostly positive, praising Natalie for her simple yet genius solution to something many parents of disabled children have worried about. However, some did still raise concerns. Some commenters were concerned with what happens after the person is removed from the vehicle and the identification is no longer on their person, saying they should simply wear a MedicAlert bracelet instead.
Natalie wants to emphasize this is not meant to be used as an alternative to a MedicAlert bracelet.
Not A Replacement
Natalie designed the seat belt covers as a secondary aid for emergency situations, not as a replacement for medical identification such as a MedicAlert bracelet or necklace.
A MedicAlert identification could be covered up easily by clothing, and the first responder on the scene may be a civilian who's not trained to look for medical identification, so her covers serve as an immediate and simple way to identify a child or adult with disabilities while assessing the overall situation.