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Seatbelts

Seatbelts

Activities

1.  You need a seatbelt in a car because of Newton’s First Law.  (In simple terms, objects moving will stay moving unless it hits something. Objects at rest will not move unless something hits it.)  Check out this cool way to demonstrate Newton’s First Law.

2.  Grab a penny and a Hot Wheels car.  Put the penny on the car and push the car as hard as you can.  What happened to the penny?  Did it stay on or fall off?  Add a piece of tape, which is the penny’s seatbelt.  What happened?  If you push the car into a box, what happens to the penny with a seatbelt on?

So, how were seatbelts invented? When did they become something you find in all cars? And when and how did it become a law that you had to wear one?   

Fun Facts About Seatbelts

  • Two-point seatbelts were created and put to use as far back as the late 1800’s.  
  • Seatbelts were used in cars as early as the 1930’s.  However… it wasn’t until the 1960’s that American automakers began installing seatbelts in their cars.
  • The 3-point, continuous-strap seatbelt was invented by Nils Bohlin in 1959.
  • In 1961, New York made a law requiring passengers sitting in the front seat to wear seatbelts.
  • A child safety device known as “the car seat,” was born in 1962!
  • In 1968, seatbelt installation in all new cars became a Federal Law.  But, people were still not required by law to wear them!

Things You Will Learn

  1. What is the long journey of seatbelts from idea to law?
  2. Why do people keep moving forward when a car stops?
  3. What is a crash test dummy and how did they help get people to wear seatbelts?

Listen to the short Who Smarted? episode for kids about Seatbelts for free here!

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