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Extra benefit from using a seat belt

2014-05-19 09:48

WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT: Seat belts and air bags can save your life in a car crash. Research has shown that a belt can also help prevent serious kidney injury. Image: Shutterstock

NEW YORK - Seat belts and air bags are not only good at protecting a person's head and chest during a car crash. They also help protect the kidneys, according to a news report.

Researchers found that survivors of car crashes who wore a seat belt and had a vehicle with air bags were less likely to have a serious kidney injury or to need one of their kidneys removed than people who didn't take those precautions.

A urologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York Dr. Marc Bjurlin said: "This provides additional evidence to support the role of these protective devices in motor vehicles."

SOFTEN THE IMPACT

The research was presented on May 16 2014 at the 109th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association in Orlando, Florida.

Seat belts are designed to spread the force of a vehicle crash across the pelvis and chest while an air bag is meant to soften the impact between the body and car.

For the new study, the researchers analysed information on motor vehicle crash injuries in 2010 and 2011 from the National Trauma Data Bank. Of the 287 174 accidents, there were 2 580 kidney injuries.

The researchers found that when air bags and seat belts were used together, the risk of serious kidney injuries fell by about 23%. The risk of surgery to remove a kidney fell by more than half.

Bjurlin said there are likely multiple reasons why using seat belts and air bags protects the kidneys.

For example, seat belts keep people from moving around the vehicle while also spreading out the impact of the crash.

Bjurlin said: "Ironically, in some studies the seat belt has been found to be a cause of kidney injuries. While that may be true in some cases, he said overall wearing seat belts and using air bags is beneficial.

"It protects your kidneys and reduced the risk of them being taken out."
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