June 2019 ABC News
A simple idea from a mother concerned about her child's safety has become an overnight success.
Victorian mother of five, Natalie Bell, posted photos online of a seatbelt cover she made showing her daughter's medical information in the event of a crash. The post went viral and within days, she had thousands of orders for the covers from around the world. The covers, which are made with Velcro so they can be fastened to seatbelts or a school bag, have bright-coloured text so they are easily seen.
Ms Bell said she made her first cover last week because she was concerned about what might happen if her daughter Shae was in an accident and medical staff did not know she was unable to have an MRI because she had a cochlear implant. "It's a safety thing ... because anyone can be a first responder at the scene of an accident," she said. "So having the details and they're clear, they're noticeable, it's the first thing you'll see when you open up that car door."
The Beaconsfield Upper small business owner has made other things for Shae, who lost her hearing when she was a baby. She has also made an Auslan clock, with pictures of hands doing sign language, to help her feel more included.
Ms Bell said she was shocked by the response.
"Overnight my phone did not stop," she said.
Ms Bell has made several versions of the cover including this one for people with autism.
"I did not expect it to go worldwide.” Ms Bell said she had received a positive response from some police and firefighters about her products. Emergency information jewellery is one way people with serious medical conditions can communicate important health information in a serious incident. But Ms Bell said the seatbelt cover would be easier to spot. "The bracelets are amazing, but you don't always look for a bracelet and they can be covered by clothes," she said.
Ms Bell said she started making the seatbelt covers and other personalised items to sell as "something to do during the week”. She now has requests for the seatbelt covers in different languages, but at this stage is only making them in English.
Diabetes Victoria chief executive Craig Bennett said he thought it was a "great idea", especially for young people with type 1 diabetes who need to take insulin regularly. "If there was an accident, it could be helpful for paramedics, bystanders or medical responders to be aware of relevant health conditions for those involved in accidents," he said.