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Mom creates seat belt covers for kids with special needs

Natalie Bell worried what would happen to her daughter, who is deaf, if they were in a car accident. Then Bell came up with a brilliant idea.
/ Source: TODAY

There’s a good chance you have never heard of Natalie Bell. But the mom of five is a pretty big deal in the parenting world, after a post about her life-saving device went viral on Facebook with more than 700,000 shares.

Bell, 32, makes seat belt covers that are designed to warn emergency responders about health issues. It’s a cause close to Bell’s heart. Bell’s 10-year-old daughter Shae has severe hearing loss and her cochlear implant is not compatible with MRI scans. Shae’s colorful cover reads: “I am deaf. I have a cochlear implant. No MRI.” One for kids with autism spectrum disorders says, “I have autism. I may resist help.” The $15 accessories can also be personalized to with a child’s name and condition. Recently, Bell has been receiving orders for adults with Alzheimers.

“As a cop, I wish I could hand them out to anyone who needs them.”

The Melbourne, Australia-based artist used to worry about what would happen if she was in a car accident and unable to let emergency workers know about Shae’s implants. But that weight has since been lifted. And other parents are feeling that same sense of relief thanks to Bell’s creation.

mom invents cool seatbelt covers
A seat belt cover with children with Type 1 diabetes.Courtesy of Natalie Bell
A seat belt cover for a child with autism.
A seat belt cover for a child with autism.Courtesy of Natalie Bell

“There has been such a positive response” Bell told TODAY Parents. Since posting on Facebook last week, she has received thousands of orders and been inundated with praise from people around the world.

In the comments on Bell’s Facebook post, a woman who is married to an emergency responder said her husband thinks it's “a brilliant idea” and “a valuable piece that provides a lot of information clearly.” Added a firefighter: “I don’t really think the window stickers are effective because sometimes windows are broke, but seat belts are usually intact.”

A police offer wrote, “As a cop, I wish I could hand them out to anyone who needs them.”

Scott Nix, Chief of Police in Sudbury, Massachusetts, applauds Bell's invention. "Information is power," he told TODAY Parents. Nix suggests making a cover that states the child's condition with the message, "See glove compartment for more information."

Of course, it's Shae's feedback that matters the most to Bell. "The covers make me feel safe," the little girl happily explained to TODAY Parents.

Expect more genius ideas from Bell in the future. "I made a clock that tells time in sign language," Bell told TODAY Parents. “I am always looking for ways to help make Shae’s life easier.”