health

Mom Invents Personalized Seat Belt Covers To Alert EMTs To Passengers’ Medical Conditions

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

A simple invention by a mother of five could save the lives of people with disabilities.

Natalie Bell of Australia has five children between the ages of 1 and 15 years old.

Her daughter Shae was born with moderate hearing loss, and she lost most of her hearing by the time she was 1 year old. She now has a cochlear implant.

As a mom, Natalie has often thought about what would happen to her daughter if they got into a car accident. People with certain types of cochlear implants can’t receive MRIs, but if Natalie were unable to communicate with the emergency crew, they might not be aware that Shae requires special precautions.

So the mom came up with a simple yet ingenious idea. She created a seat belt cover that says, “I have a cochlear implant. No MRI.”

In the case of an emergency (like a car accident), first responders would see the seat belt cover right away.

Natalie has now been flooded by thousands of orders for seat belt covers for all types of medical conditions.

Natalie Bell, who lives near Melbourne, Australia, started a business called Personalised by Nat. She sells all kinds of personalized items, but she’s gone viral for one offering in particular: her customized seat belt covers.

Natalie was inspired to create the first seat belt cover by her daughter Shae, who has had hearing loss since she was born and now has a cochlear implant.

“Because of this implant it is important she is not exposed to the magnetic field of an MRI which can do damage,” Natalie explained on Facebook.

“I always wonder what would happen if I was in a car accident with my daughter in the car and I was unable to let the doctors know that my daughter could not have a MRI due to having a cochlear implant,” Natalie explained.

“Now I don’t need to worry about that with these seat belt covers. These can be made for any special needs that the medical team will need to know if you are unable to tell them,” she said.

Natalie has gone on to make seat belt covers for people with all sorts of other disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and others.

She posted about the new products on Facebook, and to her surprise, they were a massive hit.

Thousands of orders have been pouring in for these seat belt covers. Natalie has been “overwhelmed” by the amount of interest, she said.

“Doing this has made me realize an urgent need in the community for these products and their popularity has proven this,” she wrote.

Many fellow parents who have children with disabilities commented on Natalie’s post to commend her for this idea.

A lot of people who work in emergency services also praised her, because these simple seat belt covers truly can make it easier for first responders to know how to help.

Everyone’s situation is different, so Natalie offers the option to order a personalized seat belt with the message of your choice.

“I am able to personalize your seat belt covers for any number of conditions that may relate to your loved ones treatment in the event of an emergency,” she said.

These covers are portable, so they don’t have to be used only in the car. They can also be used for backpacks, wheelchairs, or anywhere else where you’d like to alert people that you have a disability or health condition.

The covers are such a helpful item that it’s almost surprising that nobody invented them until Natalie came along. Genius!

“These children might have a medical bracelet but those are quite small. So I thought this is something emergency services would notice straight away,” she said.

Some people also have medical alerts on their windshield or window, but as some emergency responders pointed out to Natalie, a seat belt cover is a better option. Glass may be broken in the case of an accident, but the seat belt usually remains intact.

After the flood of interest, Natalie created a website for her company. The mother of five says she originally started the business to have “something new” to do after her last child was born, and now she’ll definitely be kept busy with all of these custom orders!

The covers are available for $16 each. Thanks to the high demand, there is currently a two- to four-week wait for delivery. Natalie does ship internationally for an extra fee.

She says her daughter Shae “has been the inspiration behind a lot of my work.”

“We hope to make a difference in your life too,” she wrote.

With over 700,000 shares on Facebook, it’s clear that she already has made a difference.