It was a simple enough idea — put a warning on her daughter’s seatbelt so, in the event of a crash, first responders at the scene didn’t accidentally administer the type of treatment that could actually harm the 10-year-old.
But after Natalie Bell shared the end result of her idea to social media she was staggered to see the huge impact for something so seemingly simple.
“I always wonder what would happen if I was in a car accident with my daughter... and I was unable to let the doctors know that my daughter could not have a MRI due to having a cochlear implant,” Ms Bell explained in a Facebook post that included photos of her daughter, Shae, and the seatbelt covers the mum had made.
“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.”
Cochlear implants are medical devices which assist people with hearing impairments that contain a magnet.
It’s this magnet which makes MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) dangerous to the wearer because of the powerful magnetic field they produce.
The post, which was put on the Facebook page for Ms Bell’s customised printing business, Personalised by Nat, on the afternoon of June 5 went viral overnight.
“It’s been overwhelming the response. It’s amazing,” the mum-of-five told Yahoo News Australia.
“I didn’t really think much of it... I put it on my page and [thought] ‘oh you know, my friends would see it. That’s going to be about it,’ and woke up the next morning and it had gone viral... Overnight.”
“I’ve had over 52 million views on it.”
Among the thousands to respond with praise over the idea were professional first responders themselves — fire fighters and paramedics — who, despite being medically trained in every aspect of first aid, often had no way of knowing the pre-existing medical conditions of those they were trying to help at accident scenes.
“Even from firies. They’ve been leaving messages saying: ‘it’s a great idea and I wish I had this at scenes of accidents I’ve been to’.
“The medical bracelets are amazing but you don’t see them straight away all the time.”
But the thing about the seatbelt covers, she explained, which many of the fire fighters had pointed out, was that they are “the first thing” they would see upon arriving at an accident scene and opening the car door.
Another difficulty with medical bracelets, as one person pointed out in response to Ms Bell’s social media post, is that it is often difficult to get children with autism to wear them.
The stay-at-home mum, who started the business only a few months ago, said since her post went viral a week ago and the media started covering her story, she has been inundated with so many orders for the personalised seat belt covers she had lost count.
“We’ve been staying up until 2am most nights replying back to emails and orders,” she laughed.
“It’s been amazing... We’d never of thought something like this could happen. The response is incredible.”
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