Seat belt injuries: What are the indications?

Seat belt and airbags are vital tools in preventing serious vehicular accidents. Nevertheless, these devices can also result to physical issues. Seat belt injuries might not always be evident. There are signs to watch out after an accident that might indicate further injury from seat belts.

What are the usual signs of seat belt injuries?


The presence of blood in the stool or urine might indicate internal damage due to the pressure from the seat belt on the body. It is important to note that the organs might be compressed and result to damage.


Leg weakness can arise from impairment in the lower back, abdomen or spinal nerves.

Aside from blood in the urine, the individual should also monitor for any changes in the bowel movements or urination. Obstruction of the colon can occur from seat belt trauma and lead to bleeding along with constipation. Vomiting blood or coughing might be an indication of lung damage, stomach issues or respiratory tract injury.


Leg weakness can arise from impairment in the lower back, abdomen or spinal nerves. The weakness might affect one or both legs. Generalized feeling of dizziness or weakness might be a sign of shock or damage to the internal organs.


If the seat belt is dragged during a crash, muscle strains and a bruise can develop in the site where the seat belt was heaved. Discolored skin and swelling is usually the outcome and eventually settles after a few days.

Difficulty breathing

If the individual has difficulty breathing after an accident, he/she might have endured damage to the organs in the chest due to the pressure from the seat belt. The damage to the lungs or heart can make breathing labored.

Abdominal pain

Once the seat belt is over the kidneys and drives in a significant blunt power, the initial signs include abdominal pain and discomfort in the region amidst the hips and ribs. Anemia and low blood pressure can occur from the blood loss. If left untreated, damage to the kidney can result to delayed bleeding, kidney failure and even infections.

Stiff neck

Even though the individual might become sore from the pressure of the seat belt, any lingering indications of possible serious damage to the neck must be closely monitored. A whiplash occurs if the torso is held in place and the head is snapped back and forth. Remember that intensifying pain or stiffness of the neck might arise from a spinal injury due to whiplash.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on seat belt injuries is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage the injuries, register for a first aid and CPR course with Kelowna First Aid.